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Shoppers let loose on Black Friday 2011

In an annual orgy of shopping marred by the usual violence, Americans rushed into stores on Black Friday 2011 to take advantage of promotional deals at the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.

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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City. (Michael Nagle/AFP/Getty Images)

In an annual orgy of shopping, Americans rushed into stores on Black Friday 2011 to take advantage of promotional deals at the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.

Stores opened their doors hours earlier than usual on this year's Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving. Thousands of shoppers lined up and elbowed through crowds to try and land the best deals of the year.

CBS News reported on several incidents of violence Friday, but the day of shopping was largely peaceful. 

More from GlobalPost: Black Friday sales: Ruthless shopper pepper sprays rivals in LA Walmart

Across the United States, there were other reports of gunfire, pepper spray being used on unruly shoppers, and several punching incidents and fights between competing shoppers.

Twenty people, including children, were hurt at a San Fernando Valley Walmart when a woman used mace against other customers in what was described as a "competitive shopping" incident.

At a Walmart near Oakland, one person remains in critical but stable condition after a shooting and attempted robbery in the parking lot, CBS reported.

Police are also investigating a stabbing outside a Macy's store. The stabbing reportedly followed a verbal fight between two groups of shoppers, CBS said.

The National Retail Federation expects 152 million people to hit the shops this weekend, the Guardian said, an increase of 10.1 percent on 2010.

More from GlobalPost: Black Friday 2011: Will the deals stack up? (PHOTOS)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111125/black-friday-2011-violence-walmart-macys