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Misinformation has added to the confusion. For instance, a rumor sprang up on Twitter that the New York Police Department wanted to use tear gas on protesters — a crowd-control tactic the department doesn’t use. The claim was eventually retracted, one of several such retractions over the past several days. On Friday, a message said Radiohead would be performing in solidarity for the cause, but the band’s management said it wasn’t playing.

Earlier clashes with police have resulted in about 100 arrests. Most were for disorderly conduct. Many were the subject of homemade videos posted online.

One video surfaced of a group of girls shot with pepper spray by NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. The woman claimed they were abused and demanded the officer resign, and the video has been the subject of several news articles and commentary. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said internal affairs would look into whether Bologna acted improperly and has also said the video doesn’t show “tumultuous” behavior by the protesters.

A real estate firm that owns Zuccotti Park, the private plaza off Broadway occupied by the protesters, has expressed concerns about conditions there, saying in a statement that it hopes to work with the city to restore the park “to its intended purpose.” But it’s not clear whether legal action will be taken, and police say there are no plans to try to remove anyone.

Seasoned activists said the ad-hoc protest could prove to be a training ground for future organizers of larger and more cohesive demonstrations, or motivate those on the sidelines to speak out against injustices.

“You may not get much, or any of these things on the first go-around,” said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a longtime civil rights activist who has participated in protests for decades. “But it’s the long haul that matters.”