Police in riot gear fired pepper spray to disperse striking newspaper workers who blocked replacement workers from entering a printing plant Monday. It was the second time during the Labor Day weekend that strikers succeeded in delaying distribution of the paper.
Police tried at least three times to open a path for replacement drivers and pressmen to make their way into the Detroit Newspapers printing plant but were pushed back by more than 300 protesters.
Police responded by spraying pepper gas. The protesters, some of them wearing gas or surgical masks, pelted police with rocks, sticks and debris.
Police lobbed another gas canister into the crowd. Similar exchanges occurred several times into the night before the pickets began dispersing around 12:40 a.m. today.
About 20 trucks with more than 450,000 copies of Tuesday’s combined edition of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press made it out of the plant - most through a back gate - after a delay of several hours, said Detroit Newspapers Vice President Susie Ellwood. That is about half the average number published since the strike against the newspapers began July 13.
She said pickets pushed a security guard beneath the line of trucks heading out of the plant. One truck ran over the man, breaking both of his legs, she said. He was taken out of the plant by helicopter.
Two injured protesters were treated at the scene, broadcast reports said. At least three people were arrested, police said.
One delivery truck was destroyed by a fire.
Police Chief Thomas Derocha said one officer was take to a hospital after being struck on the arm by a piece of cement. The injury apparently was not serious, he said.
Between confrontations, the protesters taunted police and milled about the street as passing cars sounded their horns in support.<