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Protesters Shut Down Roads In Solidarity March With Baltimore; Over 100 Arrested

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A group that supports the protesters in Baltimore gathered in Union Square Wednesday and shut down the outbound Holland Tunnel, the West Side Highway and several other city streets as they marched.

More than 100 protesters were arrested as officers clashed with protesters around Manhattan, CBS2 reported. The protests followed rioting that began in Baltimore on Monday, in response to the police custody death of Freddie Gray.

PHOTOS: NYC March In Baltimore Solidarity Protest

Several hundred people gathered in Union Square around 6 p.m., and during the 7 p.m. hour, about 200 people broke off from Union Square and marched down 17th Street despite an order by officers to stay off the streets, 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported.

On 17th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, protesters marched for less than five minutes before coming face to face with a line of NYPD officers in riot gear – a barrier that sparked instant anger and countless clashes in the street.

Protesters Shut Down Holland Tunnel, West Side Highway, In Solidarity March With Baltimore

No serious injuries were reported, but a commanding officer from the NYPD 13th Precinct suffered minor injuries when he was hit with a flying object near Union Square, police said.

There were too many arrests to track on the ground – some of them more dramatic than others, CBS2's Weijia Jiang reported.

Jiang reported she and her crew got jostled around running in the middle of the action, and said the confrontation was more physical than those seen in Baltimore on Tuesday – the day after the riots.

Three officers were seen carrying one man, using every ounce of his energy to resist. Another handcuffed man was crouched in the street with his mouth gagged, and police also put several women into custody.

Still, hundreds of people stayed defiant and determined.

"They're obstructing us," one man said. "We would like to march. These are our streets."

The man said it did not matter that police did not want protesters in the street.

"This is what justice is," he said. "Sometimes it's not pretty, but it has to happen."

One woman said she was disappointed that police were arresting people for being in the street after being so accommodating in other protests.

As some protesters got into a shoving match with officers on 17th Street, and one woman ran in and shouted to stop, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

"Please. We're not here to fight with the police. That's not what we do," she said. "We make more noise when we don't be violent."

The protesters were of all ages and races with a shared voice, Silverman reported.

"A civilian who's unarmed can just be murdered by a policeman," the woman said. "It's a terrible situation."

Protesters Shut Down Holland Tunnel, West Side Highway, In Solidarity March With Baltimore

Some of the dramatic arrests were hard to watch for children caught in the middle of the chaos.

"I was really scared, because I thought (the police) were going to, like, take me, and I thought they were going to, like, put me in jail, or maybe even shoot me," said Garvey Taylor, 8.

Garvey's mother said the fear is understandable, and exactly why they marched.

"There are people willing to sacrifice themselves for this, and we're going to keep going," said Michelle Taylor. "This is not it. This is only the beginning."

As the night went on, multiple groups of protesters splintered off and shut down multiple city streets, One group headed west on 14th Street, another west on 21st Street from Broadway, and a third south on University Place.

A group of several hundred eventually made it to the Holland Tunnel. The outbound side of the tunnel was shut down as Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police blocked the entrance.

The protesters then took over the West Side Highway at Canal Street and began marching north. The highway was shut down in both directions.

On the West Side Highway -- known as West Street in Lower Manhattan -- some protesters pushed officers and threw bottles at them, CBS2 reported.

NYC Rally, March In Solidarity With Baltimore Protests
Protester being arrested during Baltimore solidarity rally in Union Square on April 29, 2015 (Credit: Gary Baumgarten/1010 WINS)

The group Millions March NYC, who helped organize the rally, said they are a multi-racial grassroots collective of activists who want to strengthen the "Black Lives Matter" movement, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

Some of the participants told Gainer they stand with Baltimore and the residents' resistance there. They also said they look to keep the rally in New York City peaceful and non-violent.

The NYPD had been on the scene from the start, blasting an automated message letting ralliers know that pedestrians are not allowed on the roadways, sending the message that marching on the streets of New York City would not be a good idea, Gainer reported.

Prior to the demonstration, Mayor Bill de Blasio had a message for protesters with the Shut It Down group, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

Mayor De Blasio Urges Peaceful Protest For Those Demonstrating In Solidarity With Baltimore

"I'd say that if you want to make change, keep things peaceful. When anyone gets involved in violent protests, it denigrates their cause," the mayor said.

The mayor declared he found positive reports that some demonstrators in Baltimore saw people who wanted to be violent and worked with the police to isolate them.

"The vast majority of people are trying to work on the relationship between police and community. Do it in a peaceful manner," de Blasio added.

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