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Tear gas and seven arrests as police break up protest

Seven people were arrested as police used smoke and tear gas against protesters who defied a curfew in a St Louis suburb where a black teen walking down the street had been shot by a white police officer.

Police moved armoured vehicles down the street in Ferguson, Missouri, just after the start of the curfew on Saturday night.

They used smoke and tear gas on protesters who refused to move back, essentially ending the confrontation nearly an hour after the midnight curfew. Seven people were arrested.

Saturday marked a week since a white Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The shooting ignited racial tension.


Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said the timing of police action was coincidental. Officers received a report that people had broken into a barbecue restaurant and some were on the roof, creating a potential danger for police trying to disperse the protesters.

Officers were responding to that report, not the fact that protesters were breaking curfew, Johnson said.

Things got worse when a man with a handgun went into the street as police were nearing the restaurant. He ran off, but there was plenty of violence. A man was shot and critically wounded in the same area.

Hundreds of protesters left peacefully before the curfew took effect, but others - chanting "No justice! No curfew!" - refused to leave the area.

Jayson Ross, who was leading the protesters towards police before the canisters were fired, said: "They got guns. We got guns. We are ready."