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Calm gradually settles over Ferguson

By Agencies in Ferguson, Missouri | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-28 07:24

 Calm gradually settles over Ferguson

Protesters block an intersection during a march in Los Angeles, California, on Wednesday following Monday's grand jury decision in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

400 arrests made in US as sympathy protests spread to other nations

The streets of Ferguson, Missouri, were mostly quiet on Wednesday after two nights of racially charged unrest following a grand jury decision to clear a white policeman of criminal prosecution for the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

With wintry weather apparently muffling protests in Ferguson and elsewhere across the US Midwest and East Coast on the eve of the country's Thanksgiving holiday, one of the largest rallies took place in Los Angeles, where several hundred marched through downtown, chanting, "No justice, no peace."

Sympathy demonstrations even spread to London, with CNN airing television footage of young people streaming through what appeared to be a pedestrian walkway and a sign bearing the message: "Black Lives Matter."

Ferguson, a St Louis suburb of 21,000 residents, erupted in weeks of protests after 18-year-old Michael Brown was slain by officer Darren Wilson on Aug 9 in a shooting widely perceived in the community as an unjustified use of deadly force.

Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave, has said he acted in self-defense, out of fear for his life.

The town became an epicenter of national outrage again this week, when a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Wilson on criminal charges.

The case has exposed long-running strains in Ferguson between its predominantly black residents and a white-dominated political and law enforcement establishment while renewing a debate about race relations in the United States as a whole.

Tensions in Ferguson, at least on the surface, had diminished considerably by Wednesday night.

A few dozen protesters huddled in falling snow outside police headquarters after dark, in contrast to the hundreds who took to the streets Monday in a night of arson, looting, sporadic gunfire and clashes with police that ended in more than 60 arrests. Another 45 protesters were taken into custody in smaller, more-isolated bursts of lawlessness that erupted Tuesday night.

Demonstrations spread to a dozen or more major US cities by Tuesday, culminating in at least 400 arrests nationwide.

Troops deployed

In and around Ferguson itself, some 2,200 National Guard troops called out by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon were backing up local police.

"The ramped-up presence and action of the Missouri National Guard has been helpful," Nixon said on Wednesday after facing criticism for not deploying enough troops in the immediate hours after the grand jury's decision was announced Monday evening.

About a half-dozen clergy members, wearing orange vests, also milled about on Wednesday night among the protesters, most of whom stood quietly in the snow, as passing motorists occasionally honked their horns in support.

London protest

The public uproar is spreading across the Atlantic as thousands protested in London on Wednesday holding signs reading "Black Lives Matter" and chanted "Hands up, don't shoot," the slogan adopted by US protesters.

At a rally outside the US embassy, relatives of black men killed by police in Britain addressed the crowd.

"We need to send a message to Mike Brown's family," said Carol Duggan, the aunt of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man whose shooting by police in 2011 was followed by riots.

"We feel the pain, we know the pain, of losing somebody at the hands of the police," she said. "That is why we stand in solidarity with the community of Ferguson. I feel they are very strong and brave people."

Reuters - Xinhua - AP




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