The History of NYPD and Anarchists Clashing in NYC

Written by Andrew Rice on . Posted in Breaking News.


Photo Courtesy of Dave Winer

Two cops were injured Saturday night after a clash between the and a group of pipe wielding amidst an hours-long clash with officers. According to police, a group of approximately 25 individuals tried to smash the windows of the on Astor Place using 8-foot metal pipes at 8:45 p.m.

The protestors had recently left the fifth annual Anarchist Book Fair at Judson Church on Washington Square South. There, a separate larger group of around 150 people had vandalized commercial property and overturned garbage cans in the area. Responding officers were pelted with pipes and bottles while chanting “f*** the NYPD,” and “all pigs must die.”

Clashes between anarchists and the police are nothing new in New York City. While recent scuffles with Wall Street protestors come to mind, this conflict has been steadily churning under the city for more than a century. The first commissioner of the NYPD, Michael C. Murphy, commanded all precincts to secretly find and record the names of anarchists and their meeting places.

“I don’t propose, if I can help it, to have any Anarchists living in this city,” Murphy stated in the Sept. 11 1901 issue of The New York Times.

During the spring of 1919, Galleanist anarchists mailed bombs to prominent politicians and appointees who they viewed as enemies of the working class. Included among the would-be victims were then-mayor John Hylan and his police commissioner Richard Enright. More recently, there were clashes between NYPD and self purported anarchists in the East Village. In 1988, nine protestors were arrested after throwing bottles and ramming a police barricade into a new luxury condo on Ave. B side of Tompkins Square after the NYPD tried to impose a 1 a.m. curfew. Scores were injured in the melee, with dozens of complaints of police brutality being reported.  Several years later, after anarchists were pushed out of Tompkins Square, another group clashed with residents and police at La Plaza Cultural on E 9th St.and Ave. C. Anarchists came out to party during a hot Sept. evening and the drunken revelers trashed the gardens and demolished fences.

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