They came. They partied. They rioted.
And then they were taken to the hoosegow.
About 500 protesters gathered in the park Saturday evening, where they rang in the new year with songs and their now-familiar chant of "We are the 99 percent."
About 11 p.m., after a relatively quiet evening, some protesters began to tear down the barricades that have surrounded the park since New York police officers evicted Occupy Wall Street members on Nov. 15, protesters said Sunday. Police then moved in.
"They (police) got very aggressive and started pushing people and pepper-spraying people," protester Jason Amadi, 27, of San Jose, California, said Sunday. "I got pepper-sprayed in the face."
The protesters said they worked at sections of the park in teams of twos and threes, retreating only when police converged and pulled the barricades back.
"People were collecting all the barricades and making kind of a big heap of them in the middle of the park," said protester Melanie Butler, 30, of Brooklyn. "And we were standing on it with our Occupy Wall Street banner."
The New York Police Department said 68 people were arrested, and at least one person was accused of assaulting a police officer, who suffered cuts on one hand. Other charges included trespassing, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.
As much sympathy as Bloomberg and other city officials might have for the miscreants, they appear to have learned their lesson about allowing the radicals to camp out and turn their parks into a squalid mess. The same lesson seems to have been learned just about everywhere which is good news for citizens who must bear the costs of the protestor's self indulgence.