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Police fire stun grenades at Missouri protesters

By Reuters in Ferguson, Missouri | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-15 08:24

Police in Ferguson, Missouri, fired tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs to disperse some 350 protesters late on Wednesday, the fourth night of racially charged demonstrations after police shot to death an unarmed black teen.

Some demonstrators hurled rocks at police as others scattered, while smoke engulfed the area. A Reuters reporter saw two young men preparing what looked like Molotov cocktails in a bus-stop shelter, their faces covered by bandanas. Police said protesters had thrown gasoline bombs at officers.

Protesters have gathered every night since Saturday when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death in the mostly black suburb of St. Louis, during what authorities said was a struggle over a gun in a police car. Some witnesses say he was outside the car with his hands up.

Police have deployed camouflage-clad officers in body armor, including one manning a rifle on a tripod atop an armored car, to Ferguson.

"I've had enough of being pushed around because of the color of my skin. I'm sick of this police brutality," said one protester, who gave only his first name, Terrell, 18. "I'm going to keep coming back here night after night until we get justice."

A St. Louis alderman, Antonio French, was among some 10 people arrested on Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported. About 40 protesters have been arrested since Saturday.

As the protest swelled on Wednesday night, reporters Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of Huffington Post were briefly arrested at a fast-food restaurant.

A cloud of tear gas forced Al Jazeera journalists to flee at one point as they prepared for live reporting, with an anchor for the broadcaster Tweeting that police fired the canister at the crew.

National figures from President Barack Obama to civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton have called for a peaceful response to the shooting.

Obama, who is vacationing on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, was briefed on Wednesday night about events in Ferguson by senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and US Attorney General Eric Holder, the White House said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said in a series of Twitter messages he would visit the area on Thursday, and urged "law enforcement to respect rights of residents (and) press" with the hopes that the "ongoing crisis" does not compound Saturday's "tragedy."

"Situation in Ferguson does not represent who we are. Must keep the peace, while safeguarding rights of citizens and the press," Nixon wrote.

 Police fire stun grenades at Missouri protesters

Riot police stand guard on Wednesday as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Police fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters, on the fourth night of demonstrations over the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teenager by a police officer on Saturday. Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

(China Daily 08/15/2014 page12)

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