A woman drove her car into a crowd of protesters on 39th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan just after 4 p.m. on Friday, injuring at least six people, the police said.
A video posted on Twitter shortly after the incident showed protesters standing close to a black BMW sedan on Third Avenue, with at least one of them slapping its windows.
The car surged forward, flinging protesters to the ground, then sped through an intersection, striking more pedestrians — some on bicycles — with a sickening crunch, the video shows.
Sofia Vickerman, 18, a freshman at New York University, said she was in the middle of the pack of protesters when she heard screams coming from the front of the march. “Bodies were in the air and bikes were flying,” she said.
Christian Resseguie was chanting “free them all, free them now” moments before he heard a car accelerating behind him. The next thing he saw was protesters strewn around the intersection.
“I saw lacerations, broken bones,” said Mr. Resseguie, a civil rights lawyer from the Lower East Side. He said the protesters who bore the brunt of the crash were bicyclists who had taken on the responsibility of controlling traffic for the day’s march.
A security camera from a shop near the intersection recorded the car as it careened through several protesters on bicycles, knocking several of them to the pavement, according a second video posted online.
The police said that the people hit by the car were being treated at nearby hospitals and that none of them had life-threatening injuries. They said that the driver, who was not immediately identified, was being questioned at a local precinct, but her intentions were not clear and it was not known whether she would face charges.
Another video posted online by a bystander showed a redheaded woman believed to be the driver being taken into custody by the police as demonstrators shouted at her from the sidewalk.
One protester was also taken into custody for interfering with emergency medical services as they tried to help one of the victims, police said. It was not clear whether the protester would be charged with a crime.
The protesters were marching in support of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees on a hunger strike, according to people at the march. Patch reported yesterday that several detainees in a New Jersey jail had been on a hunger strike for nearly a month, prompting protests in New Jersey and New York. I.C.E. officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Vickerman said the protest had started in Times Square and had made its way downtown, with police trailing on bicycles. She then saw the car driving through the crowd of protesters. She said she did not hear or see the motorist show any signs of aggression before hitting people.
Mr. Resseguie, a veteran activist, said that he wasn’t surprised by the incident considering similar altercations between motorists and demonstrators, including a car that drove into a group of protesters in Brooklyn in June and one that accelerated into a dense Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square in September.
“This isn’t going to dissuade me from continuing to demonstrate and to show up for my community,” he said.