Published: Nov 03, 2011 7:56 PM EDT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Many people who participated in a massive demonstration that put Oakland at the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street movement are disavowing the violence that took place after most protesters went home.
    
About 7,000 people participated in a "general strike" on Wednesday to challenge the world's economic systems.
    
Families, teachers and labor unions joined the peaceful and carnival-like scene during the day.
    
But violence broke out overnight, with some hurling concrete chunks and firebombs at police. Many area businesses were damaged.
    
Notes were left on several damaged properties, apologizing on behalf of "the 99 percent."
    
Fifty-one-year-old Hale Nicholson has been staying at the Occupy Oakland encampment near City Hall. He blamed the violence on a small group of young people who were not there for any political message.

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