NOPD arrests 14 accused anarchists, two officers injured, following vandalism spree

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -- New Orleans police say they arrested 14 people who identify themselves as anarchists following a series of anti-Trump protests in the city.

According to NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, the protests were peaceful.  But he says a group of people who participated decided to go on a vandalism spree later in the evening.

Harrison says the suspects identified themselves as anarchists to officers.  Along with spray painting and smashing the windows on two NOPD police cruisers, the suspects are also accused of smashing windows in the French Quarter and Central Business District areas.

Harrison says two officers sustained minor injuries while trying to make the arrests.  He says the suspects were apprehended at various locations along their vandalism spree.

Police say one officer suffered a knee injury while making an arrest.  They say a second officer was hit in the head with a brick by a suspect.  Both officers were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Harrison says the suspects were wearing masks which is in violation of a city ordinance.

More protests are set for tomorrow as well, and Harrison says his officers will approach anyone wearing a mask during daylight hours and advise them of the no-masking law.  He says if the mask is not removed, the person will be arrested.  But Harrison says no warning will be given to anyone wearing a mask after dark; they will be immediately arrested.

"We will always make space for peaceful protests," Harrison told reporters.  But he followed up by saying anyone who breaks the law will be arrested.

Harrison says the anarchists attended an anti-Trump rally at Duncan Plaza.  He says the group then went on their vandalism spree.  Harrison adds that there were more people in the group, but his officers were only able to make cases against and arrest the 14.

11 of the 14 suspects will face felony criminal damage to property charges while all 14 are booked with inciting a riot and wearing masks.  3 face misdemeanor battery on a police officer charges for resisting arrest.  One of the suspect, the one accused of striking the officer with a brick, faces a felony battery on a police officer charge.