Around 8 p.m. last night some 100 demonstrators marched from Bryant Park to the Sheraton Hotel in midtown, where President Obama was giving a speech at a $1,000-a-head fundraiser. The march, which contributed to an already congested traffic situation because of the presidential visit (and the Rockefeller Center tree lighting!), was peaceful, but after the protesters arrived near the hotel, they were suddenly penned in by police, told they were in a "frozen zone" and not permitted to leave until after the president departed.

On Twitter, ubiquitous Occupy Wall Street chronicler NewYorkist reported that "someone threatened a mass urination!" It's unclear if anyone actually peed on the frozen zone, but protesters who tried to leave were threatened with arrest for disorderly conduct. Several reporters were kept away from the area by police, and MSNBC's Meg Robertson tells Capital New York, "I identified myself to a number of NYPD as a member of the press and they would not let me close to the penned in area."

Another journalist, Andrew Katz, says, "One officer actually said I could go into the kettle where the protesters were, but [another] officer grabbed my arm, and then [Harkinson], and said we had to leave the area. Three officers, including a female officer who gripped her arm around my hip, escorted us a block down to 52nd Street behind a set of barricades."

The complaints of press restrictions comes after NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a carefully-worded memo instructing police not to interfere with working press. (Kelly's memo read, in part: "Supervisors may restrict access to an incident scene only in those exceptional circumstances where it is absolutely necessary for law enforcement or public order purposes.") Asked why reporters were prevented from covering a demonstration last night, imperious NYPD spokesman Paul Browne issued a two word response to Capital New York: "Not so."

City Room reports that "the 45-minute march from Bryant Park forced shoppers and theatergoers into retreat on what most likely would have been a difficult night to find sidewalk space anyway. At one point, two pedestrians tried to move through the crowd head-on but quickly reconsidered, breaking into a jog in the other direction. 'You better not go that way,' one protester told them moments earlier. 'You’re going to hit democracy.' "

Inside the Sheraton, President Obama told supporters, "No matter who we are. No matter where we come from, we're one nation. We're one people. And that's what's at stake in this election." NY1 reports that he raised $2.4 million for his reelection campaign.