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Abrupt Police Crackdown on West Village Crowd Prompts Criticism

“The right to protest is sacrosanct,” he wrote on Twitter. “Or at least it should be. We keep seeing incidents that show this right being disregarded.”

At the protest at Washington Square Park on Saturday, which featured arts and crafts, music and dancing, organizers said they were trying to bring awareness to efforts to get justice for Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers in March. Organizers were also trying to build support for universal basic education, income and health care.

David Ortiz, 28, one of the organizers, said the event had been going for about three hours when a huge group of police officers arrived and seized the D.J.’s equipment. A police spokeswoman confirmed the equipment had been seized.

“It looked like a raid,” said Les Flagler, a co-organizer of the event.

The group decided to march toward the Sixth Precinct station house a few blocks away, stopping at restaurants to tell patrons and owners what occurred and to ask for their help. When they reached the corner of Hudson Street and West 10th Street, police officers had surrounded the intersection, organizers said.

Then the officers rushed in, they said. Both Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Flagler were among those arrested. Organizers planned to hold another rally in the park on Sunday to call attention to the episode.

Molly Dillon, who was passing the intersection after attending a wedding near the Hudson River Park, said the police did not appear to be provoked before they rushed into the group. Ms. Dillon, a policy adviser to State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, said the group did not appear to be part of a protest and she did not see anyone standing in the street.

She said people were tripping and falling as they scrambled to get away from the area.

“In addition to the disproportionate response, it was totally unprovoked,” she said.

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