Saturday 14 December 2019

Fifteen protesters arrested as tensions escalate overnight

Press Association

Fifteen people protesting against a decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown have been arrested outside the Ferguson police department.

Tensions escalated overnight during an initially calm demonstration after police said protesters were illegally blocking West Florissant Avenue.

Missouri department of public safety spokesman Mike O'Connell told the St Louis Post-Dispatch 15 people were arrested.

The demonstration in Ferguson came after protesters earlier in the day temporarily shut down three large shopping malls in suburban St Louis.

Chicago, New York, Seattle and Northern California also saw demonstrations.

Mr O'Connell said charges would include peace disturbance and impeding the flow of traffic, and two people would be charged with resisting arrest and one with assault.

A police car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri November 24, 2014. Gunshots were heard and bottles were thrown as anger rippled through a crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department in suburban St. Louis after authorities on Monday announced that a grand jury voted not to indict a white officer in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen. REUTERS/Jim Young
A police car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri November 24, 2014. Gunshots were heard and bottles were thrown as anger rippled through a crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department in suburban St. Louis after authorities on Monday announced that a grand jury voted not to indict a white officer in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen. REUTERS/Jim Young
Police officers stand next to a vandalized police car outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown November 24, 2014. A St. Louis County grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said. REUTERS/Jim Young
A protester demonstrates in Times Square after the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was announced, in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Demonstrators push down New York Police Department (NYPD) barricades during a protest against the verdict announced in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, at Union Square in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Protesters vandalize a police car outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
Protesters shout slogans against the law as they march on the street during a rally in New York, November 24, 2014, after the grand jury decided not to charge a Ferguson police officer in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Missouri State Troopers in riot gear stand in formation outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014. A St. Louis County grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Protesters chant "Hands up, don't shoot" during a demonstration on Times Square following the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Protesters chant "Hands up don't shoot" during a demonstration on Times Square following the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was announced, in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office photo shows Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson photo taken shortly after August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, presented to the grand jury and made available on November 24, 2014. REUTERS/St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office/Handout via Reuters
Police detain a protester during a demonstration on Times Square following the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A protester sits in a police van after being detained in Times Square following the announcement of the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, in New York November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A woman leads the chant "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" as demonstrators react to the grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, in front of the State House in Boston, Massachusetts November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A man holds a sign reading "Black Lives Matter" as demonstrators react to the grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, in front of the State House in Boston, Massachusetts November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A man holds a sign reading "From Boston to Ferguson, cops are racist murderers" as demonstrators react to the grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, in front of the State House in Boston, Massachusetts November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Demonstrators reacting to the grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown hold hands during four-and-a-half minutes of silence in front of the State House in Boston, Massachusetts November 25, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A masked protester holds a flare during a demonstration, following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland, California November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A protester is pushed by a police officer off the ramp of Highway 580 during a demonstration, following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland, California November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

A group of about 100 protesters had marched down West Florissant Avenue to the city's police and fire departments chanting, blocking traffic and stopping in front of some businesses.

"I served my country. I spent four years in the Army, and I feel like that's not what I served my country for," said Ebonie Tyse, 26, of St Louis.

"I served my country for justice for everyone. Not because of what colour, what age, what gender or anything," she said.

Several stores lowered their security doors or locked entrances as at least 200 protesters sprawled onto the floor while chanting "Stop shopping and join the movement," at the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights a few miles south of Ferguson, Missouri, where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Mr Brown, who was unarmed, in August.

Rioters overturn a patrol car in Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday night. REUTERS/Jim Young
Rioters overturn a patrol car in Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday night. REUTERS/Jim Young

The action prompted authorities to close the mall for about an hour yesterday afternoon, while a similar protest of about 50 people had the same effect at West County Mall in nearby Des Peres. And several dozen demonstrators led to a temporary closure of the Chesterfield Mall.

Monday night's announcement that Mr Wilson, who is white, would not be indicted for fatally shooting black teenager Mr Brown, prompted violent protests that resulted in about a dozen buildings and some cars being burned. Dozens of people were arrested.

The rallies have been ongoing but have grown more peaceful this week, as protesters turn their attention to disrupting commerce, including on Black Friday yesterday.

In Oakland, more than a dozen people were arrested after about 125 protesters wearing T-shirts that read "Black Lives Matter" interrupted train services from Oakland to San Francisco, with some chaining themselves to trains.

Dozens of people in Seattle blocked streets, and police said some protesters also apparently chained doors shut at the nearby Pacific Place shopping centre.

In Chicago, about 200 people gathered near the city's popular Magnificent Mile shopping district, where Kristiana Colon, 28, called Friday "a day of awareness and engagement".

She is a member of the Let Us Breathe Collective, which has been taking supplies such as gas masks to protesters in Ferguson.

"We want them to think twice before spending that dollar today," she said of shoppers. "As long as black lives are put second to materialism, there will be no peace."

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced he will call a special session of the General Assembly to provide funding for public safety efforts related to protests.

His office said due to the increased presence of the State Highway Patrol and the Missouri National Guard in the region, the state's financial obligations for emergency duties are on track to exceed what had been appropriated.

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