Police officers dressed in riot gear used pepper spray and rubber bullets to try to quell an Occupy Denver demonstration Saturday as protesters attempted to occupy the Colorado Capitol building.
The Denver Post reported at least 20 arrests were made, including for assault and for disobedience. Police confirmed pepper spray and either rubber bullets or pepper balls were used to break up the marching crowd, which may have numbered up to 2,000.
Denver Police Lt. Matt Murray told the Post some protesters received medical treatment at the scene and one was taken to the hospital.
Murray said one officer was knocked off his motorcycle and others were attacked and kicked by protesters.
"Unfortunately at one point, that group did try to occupy the capital, which is illegal. We made sure that they knew that, it was pretty clear that they were not allowed to do that, they tried to do it anyway," Murray said. "We had to step in and push them off. Things escalated; we did have to call out city-wide for assistance."
The Post described the scene as protesters tried to take the building:
When the demonstrators returned to the state Capitol, they marched up the steps. Officers in riot gear moved in and formed a line.
Some protesters pushed them while others joked with the officers.
People were screaming over each other. Some were dancing to a boombox, others were pounding on an unmarked patrol car.
Several were shouting "Storm that castle." Others were shooting "Stay calm."
Protesters toward the front started fighting with each other after one encouraged another protester to quit taunting police.
Some then started chanting, "We want the governor." Others shouted "We want the steps."
At one point, about eight police officers scuffled with a group of protesters.
Seven protesters were initially arrested, with the additional arrests coming in the evening after protesters ignored police orders to disband, the Post reported.
Mike Korzen, 25, said he was among the protesters police dispersed with rubber bullets and pepper spray.
"I was standing there with my hands behind my back," Korzen said, using a water bottle to wash pepper spray from his eyes.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/XHrx6_A_zWo?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The following video was posted to YouTube depicting the clash. Content warning -- strong language
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/IDTvdAYkKdg?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The clashes come days after police broke up riots at the Occupy Oakland demonstration in California. A 24-year-old Iraq war veteran was wounded by an apparent police projectile, suffering a fractured skull and brain swelling, and is awaiting surgery.
This story has been updated since it was first posted.