Although the number of protesters in St. Paul fell short of expectations, there were some significant disruptions outside the Xcel Center, which was apparent the minute I parked in the central part of downtown.
When I made my way down Kellogg Street, I ran into a splinter group of about a dozen protesters, running through the streets as a small army of police in riot gear slowly made their way toward them.
Although I witnessed nothing other than a few tense standoffs and a few spirited conversations between protesters and counter-protesters, later in the day things got more tense as police used pepper spray and arrested some 284 people. Some smashed windows and there were some reports of bricks being thrown. Others blocked roads.
Here are some videos of faceoffs earlier in the day, before a carnival atmosphere turned violent. The second is of one protester, Keith, who refused to get up off the street. The third is an exchange between protesters and counter protesters, an argument that seemed to drift into abortion:
Above: Star Tribune photo.