The officers were injured at around 2 p.m. while responding to a call for help retrieving metal barricades that protesters had dismantled and taken inside Zuccotti Park, according to a police spokesman. The small park had been the site of an encampment until a predawn raid Tuesday, and supporters had again massed there in large numbers during Thursday’s action.
Several protesters took down barricades at the Cedar Street entrance and dragged them into a pile. One man wearing a black bandanna over his face hurled a barricade across the park, nearly hitting a young girl.
Police met some resistance in the park, the spokesman said. One officer was struck in the left eye with an unknown object. The injured officer was treated at the scene and taken to Bellevue Hospital Center as a precaution.
The second injured officer suffered what a police source described as “nasty, nasty” cut to his left thumb when an unknown person inside Zucottii Park hurled star-shaped glass object. Medics at the scene said the cut would require 20 stitches.
The officer was quickly loaded in to an ambulance, where he could be seen with his hand bandaged. Protesters at Liberty Street and Broadway chanted “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street” as medics treated the officer.
Police said the officer he was in stable condition.
In a separate incident, a police spokesman said protester threw a liquid –possibly vinegar — in the faces of four officers during a confrontation earlier Thursday near Wall Street.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking to reporters at Bellevue Hospital in the afternoon, said the protesters had so far caused “minimal disruptions to our city.” But he faulted the some involved in the demonstrations: ”Unfortunately, some protesters today have deliberately pursued violence.”
Protesters also complained of aggressive and violent behavior by police as they first converged at intersections around Wall Street in the morning and marched back to Zuccotti Park later in the day.
Maxine Dade, a 17-year-old street medic, said he has seen many broken ribs from police batons and witnessed one man bleeding severely. She said some protesters have suffered concussions as a result of falling back and hitting their heads. Two protesters had been taken to a hospital.
“The procedure for arresting is knock over and drag away on the back,” Dade said. ”I just rinsed blood off the street so no one would freak out,” she said pointing to the front steps of Zuccotti Park.
JoAnna Mitchell, a 24-year-old protester, said police officers searched and took control of a rental truck parked outside the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers, the city’s main teachers’ union. She said the truck held a delivery of 20 tents headed for an Occupy Wall Street storage space inside the building.
The encounter quickly turned into a physical confrontation when another protester demanded a search warrant. Police “started hitting people,” said Ms. Mitchell. “I got hit in the leg.” She said no one was arrested in the incident.
As of 3:15 p.m., about 175 people had been arrested during Thursday’s demonstrations.
– Alison Fox, Pervaiz Shallwani, Sean Gardiner and Jessica Firger contributed to this report.