Five Chicago officers were injured and a dozen protesters face charges after a Wednesday night demonstration led to a scuffle with police on Michigan Avenue.
The protesters, mainly from the group Occupy Chicago, took to the street while marching in solidarity with protesters in Canada over tuition hikes. The group claims officers used excessive force to push protesters back onto the sidewalk at Ohio and Ontario streets.
"I was walking and I got tackled," said Katya Anges, who was charged with reckless conduct. "I'm angry, it's absurd. This isn't something to beat and arrest people for -- I don't think that demanding free education is all that wrong."
Eleven protesters were charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, battery and resisting arrest. Two of the arrested were also taken into custody during NATO protests last month.
A photographer who just wanted to snap a photo of the protest ended up with handcuffs snapped on him and his film swiped from his camera.
Police say they stopped the protest Wednesday night when it spilled into the streets.
"Clearly, last night they were causing a danger, darting in and out of traffic, not only to themselves, not only to the officers, but certainly to John Q. Citizen, who might be a pedestrian crossing Michigan Avenue," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.
One man faces a felony charge for "throwing an object through the air, striking an officer in the back of his head." Gary Wagaman, 30, from Michigan, appeared in court Thursday for a felony charge of aggravated battery of a police officer. He was ordered held on a $50,000 bond.
"I had five cops injured yesterday as a result of these actions, and we're simply not going to tolerate that, McCarthy said.
An Occupy Chicago spokeswoman said the charges are an attempt to intimidate them.
"What we've seen recently from the Chicago Police are these trumped-up charges of felonies, of brutality, and then the charges are often dropped once they're reviewed," said Rachael Perrotta. "So we have full faith that all the people who are in jail are non-violent demonstrators who should be released right away."
More than two dozen protesters camped out overnight in front of a police station awaiting protesters' release from jail. Five were released before 7 a.m.
The five police officers were treated for minor injuries.