Violent ‘Black Bloc’ Tactics

Two people were arrested in New York City Saturday night after protesters, some with possible Occupy Wall Street connections, vandalized storefronts in what was described as “black bloc” tactics, the New York Times reported. Gothamist reports that a long-time Occupy organizer was one of those arrested for attacking a NYPD officer with a metal pipe:

41-year-old Alexander Penley, is an attorney and has been an Occupy Wall Street organizer since the movement began in the fall.

Penley, along with 30-year-old Nicholas Thommen, were arrested around 10 p.m. after what witnesses described as a violent scuffle between the two men and police officers, and are charged with a litany of offenses, including assaulting a police officer, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and inciting a riot.

Penley has been quoted in stories about Occupy Wall Street in The Guardian and USA Today, and appeared on the local Manhattan television show Let Them Talk in October.

The NYPD’s press release on the arrests refers to them as “anarchist-related arrests of individuals among a group of 25 who fought with police and who had tried to use eight-foot-long galvanized metal pipes to smash windows of a Starbucks at Astor Place and Lafayette Street at 8:45 p.m.” The police also claim that patrons of Starbucks were hiding under the tables during the incident.

A black bloc is a protest tactic where protesters wear black clothing and mask their faces to make it harder for police to pick out individuals.

Tim Pool, who livecasts Occupy events, filmed police cars blocking off Tompkins Square Park around 9: 20 p.m., according to the Times. In his video, he narrates that “after the Anarchist Book Fair supposedly a black bloc formed and there was a lot of property destruction, a few windows broken.”

Read more here.