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‘Occupy the Midwest’ Protests Arrests

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Fifteen Occupy the Midwest members claim St. Louis police used excessive force, including unnecessary pepper spray, to arrest them.

Police arrested the protesters at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday at Compton Heights Reservoir Park.

Police said the window of a police car was smashed, apparently by a brick or bat, but no officers were injured.

Protestors claim they were leaving the park peacefully, to adhere to the city's curfew ordinance, when dozens of police officers converged and began making arrests.

Lt. Col. Lawrence O'Toole of the St. Louis Police Department said officers acted appropriately.

"While they may be protesting exercising their constitutional rights, they don't have a right to violate the rights of anybody else," O'Toole told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "They were not doing as they were asked to do. They were blocking the street and causing a disturbance. That's what resulted in the arrests."

Two men arrested Thursday night were charged with 3rd-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting or interfering with an arrest, general peace disturbance and failure to obey police orders. One of them was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

Eleven men and two women were charged with general disturbance and failure to obey police commands. Two of those arrested were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the Post-Dispatch reported.

About 150 protesters were in the area of the park. Occupy members traveled to St. Louis over the weekend for Occupy the Midwest.

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