NEW YORK -- New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke outside Bellevue Hospital today, referring to the protesters that "deliberately pursued violence" at the Day of Action rally held by Occupy Wall Street protesters.
The location, at one of Manhattan's downtown hospitals, was chosen because an injured police officer was admitted there due to a wound sustained during the protests. According to Kelly, the unidentified officer is 24 years old and has been on the job for about a year. He was injured when a glass object was thrown, and he blocked it with his hand. He has been admitted to Bellevue for lacerations to the hand.
"Make no mistake about it, if anyone's actions cross the line...we will respond accordingly," Bloomberg told reporters at the conference.
Bloomberg said that while everyone has the right to protest and will be allowed to do so, if the protests continue to get rowdy, police officers have the right to respond as they see fit.
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"Those that break the law, those that try to assault people, particularly our first responders, will be arrested," said Bloomberg at the conference. "It will not be tolerated."
Kelly said that there are now 177 reported arrests, mostly due to resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. However, of those 177, five were arrested for second degree assault. Seven police officers have been injured, five due to an unidentified liquid thrown in their faces and the sixth currently at Bellevue. The officers doused with liquid said it caused a "burning sensation to the face," and it was immediately flushed out of their eyes at the scene.
Bloomberg also pointed out that the protesters were not as strong in numbers as had been expected. New York City public transportation will continue throughout the day, although some delays may occur on lines that run through downtown Manhattan. The mayor believed there are less than 1,000 people in total protesting, although it has been hard to officially determine since they are spread out in different areas.
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Bloomberg and Kelly only allowed about five questions from the media before ending the conference. They did not reference the injured protester who left the scene with a bloody head, as reported by both The New York Times and New York Daily News.
"It is not an overwhelming number, the police were able to handle it and people were able to go about their business," said Bloomberg. "The NYPD has trained for this kind of event, they will keep the city safe."
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