Everyone here at the Occupy Wall Street homeland in Zuccotti Park is talking about the violence that erupted last night.
I left the area in lower Manhattan last night shortly after 7 p.m. ET. About an hour later, a group of protesters tried to march toward the New York Stock Exchange, according to people I spoke with in the park today.
The police had the area around the stock exchange on serious lockdown. To get anywhere near it you would have had to pass through three or four police checkpoints. Business Insider was throwing a party at the NYSE last night, so I did go through all those checkpoints to get to the party.
A few hundred protesters attempted to breach this security ring, according to a police officer I spoke with. (He wasn't authorized to speak, so I won't name him.)
The police resisted, and at one point an officer resorted to the swinging his night stick. Other police pepper-sprayed protesters, according to multiple people on the scene.
One photographer said she was sprayed as she tried to document the events.
It seems like every other person at Occupy Wall Street events is a photographer. It's not very clear at times who is a journalist and who is a protester.
One person at the scene described it as a "mistake."
"Last night was supposed to be about the unions supporting us. Now all you guys will just write up the incident with the cops," he said.
He blamed the violence on a few "agitators." Police say they arrested dozens of people for disorderly conduct last night.
Yesterday, the protests, which have been going on for three weeks now, grew massive as several union groups marched from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park in support of Occupy Wall Street. The park has become a sort of mini-village in which the protesters are encamped.
Some of the people gathered in the park this morning were joking about the clash.
"Come see the violence inherent in the system!" shouted one young man, imitating a line from the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
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