By Jill Colvin and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — The Occupy Wall Street protests have cost the city a whopping $2 million in police overtime since the demonstrations began nearly three weeks ago, according to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
The news came as Kelly, who had earlier testified before the City Council about alleged spying by the NYPD on the Muslim community, gave a detailed account of a tense clash between protesters and police in lower Manhattan on Wednesday night that led to more than two-dozen arrests.
Additional police resources have been called upon since the protests began on Sept. 17, with the number of participants ballooning in weeks following, forcing the city to shell out the additional overtime pay.
Kelly said that while most of the protesters have been peaceful, "there's clearly a core group of
self-styled anarchists...who want to have a confrontation with police."
Thousands of protesters, including union members and students, marched on Foley Square Wednesday in the group's largest showing yet.
Everything appeared to be peaceful as the group marched back down to Zuccotti Park, where it has been camped out since Sept. 17, until a group splintered off and headed for Wall Street.
There, Kelly said, the protesters linked arms, tossed bottles of liquid at the officers and charged barricades that had been set up.
"They actually had a countdown: 10, 9, 8 , 7, 6. They joined arms and they charged the police," he said. "They attacked the police."
Stunning video posted on YouTube shows NYPD supervisors beating back the protesters with batons.
"They're going to be met with force when they do that," Kelly said. "That is just common sense."
"Physical force is going to be used. This is something this core group obviously wanted to have
Some 27 people were arrested over the course of the evening, including nine who were arrested at the barricades. Most were charged with disorderly conduct, but one was charged with inciting a riot and another was charged with assault for allegedly knocking a police officer off of this scooter.
The confrontation came just days after more than 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge when they refused to clear the roadway.
And on Sept. 24, around 80 protesters were arrested when they clashed with police during a march to Union Square.
On that day, a high-ranking police official identified by sources as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was allegedly caught on video pepper-spraying a group of women near Union Square.
That incident is under investigation by the NYPD.