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US free speech protest turns to clash with police

US free speech protest turns into bottle-throwing clash with police; 20 arrested By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) A free-speech protest turned into a bottle-throwing clash with police that ended with 20 arrests, authorities said Friday.

The confrontation occurred Thursday night during Art Walk, a monthly event that encourages people to visit galleries, bars and restaurants in a revitalized downtown area.

Protesters said they were demonstrating against the recent arrests of people for chalking on sidewalks.

"We were handing out free chalk for freedom of speech," Cheryl Aichele, 34, of the group Occupy L.A. told the Los Angeles Times.

The demonstrators were ordered to disperse after they began writing on the sidewalks and buildings, Officer Norma Eisenman said.

Some messages included "May the youth rise" and "End the Fed," the Times reported.

Police said some protesters began throwing cans and glass bottles. Three officers were treated for minor injuries and a policewoman received a mild concussion when she was struck in the helmet, Eisenman said.

Several protesters reportedly were hurt as police struck with beanbag ammunition and batons. Eisenman said she had no information about protester injuries.

Officers in helmets and face shields formed lines and pushed the crowds out of the area.

Police arrested 20 people, 10 on suspicion of vandalism and the rest for crimes ranging from blocking a roadway to assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, Eisenman said.

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Related Keywords:Police-Protesters Clash,General news,Protests and demonstrations,Arrests,Political and civil unrest,Law and order,Crime,Human rights and civil liberties,Social issues,Social affairs


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