Three men, at least one of which is associated with Occupy Wall Street, tried to smash in the windows of the Starbucks at Astor Place and Lafayette Street at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
According to police, the men were part of a larger pack of an estimated 150 people, some of whom were masked, who ran through the East Village Saturday after attending an anarchist event.
Some of them tried to use eight-foot-long galvanized metal pipes to break the windows of the coffee shop. Terrified patrons hid under the tables, scared that glass would fall in on them.
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Some of the people tried to get into the Starbucks, but were locked out by store employees.
The men attended an anarchist book fair earlier, said police, and took to the streets near Washington Square Park, marching against traffic and chanting, "f... the NYPD", "cops are murderers," and "all pigs must die."
They were also shouting the names of Sean Bell and Trayvon Martin, according to the New York Times.
The group also tipped garbage cans and spray-painted anarchist symbols on commercial premises in the neighborhood. Someone also cracked a window at the unopened 7-Eleven on St. Mark's Place.
While police told Metro they were unsure if the anarchists were associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, Alexander Penley, one of the men arrested in the Starbucks attack,
has been frequently quoted as a member of Occupy Wall Street, including
in The Guardian and USA Today. Penley, 41, was arrested and charged with
assault and inciting a riot after Saturday's incident, cops said.
Nicholas Thommen, 30, was also arrested and charged with assault and inciting a riot, and Eric Marchese, 24, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
During the scuffle, several police officers were assaulted with pipes, bottles, and physical force, cops said.
About 80 members of Occupy Wall Street are now camped out outside the New York Stock Exchange.