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Friday 6 December 2019

More Ferguson rallies across the US

Demonstrators march in New York's Times Square in protest against the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson (AP)
Demonstrators march in New York's Times Square in protest against the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson (AP)
Protesters in Atlanta blockade all lanes of Interstate 75/85 northbound near the state capitol building (AP)

People protesting against the Ferguson grand jury decision took to the streets in some US cities for a second day, even as others were still cleaning up vandalism from the night before.

Protesters disrupted traffic for several hours in the centre of nearby St Louis by blocking major intersections, an interstate highway and a Mississippi River bridge connecting the city to Illinois.

Riot police arrested several demonstrators who sat in the middle of an interstate highway. They used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Activists had planned protests even before the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged over 18-year-old Michael Brown's shooting death.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St Louis suburb.

In New York City, hundreds of people marched for a second night in Manhattan, gathering in Union Square before splitting up into several smaller groups, chanting: "No justice, No peace."

Protests have so far been large but mostly peaceful, with just two arrests, including that of a man who threw a jar of fake blood that struck Police Commissioner William Bratton.

Police said protesters briefly shut down the Brooklyn Bridge and one of the three spans of the Robert F Kennedy Bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge.

Hundreds of Seattle high school students walked out of classes, and several hundred people marched down a Cleveland freeway ramp to block rush-hour traffic.

Renewed plans for marches and rallies in Oakland, California, came as officials were still cleaning up after scores of people hurled bottles, broke windows, set small fires and vandalised a police car.

At least 40 people were arrested in Monday night's trouble that escalated after some protesters shut down traffic on a major highway in the San Francisco Bay Area. A police spokeswoman said several officers were injured.

In Washington, one group lay on the ground to stage a "die-in" in front of Metro police headquarters. The group planned to occupy various buildings in the district over 28 hours.

"Mike Brown is an emblem (of a movement). This country is at its boiling point," said Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia, where hundreds marched. "How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?"

In Los Angeles, demonstrations remained mostly small and peaceful, but about 200 people briefly shut down Interstate 110, City News Service reported.

Officers wearing riot gear fired hard-foam projectiles into the ground to disperse about 50 protesters, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said there were no injuries and no property damage during hours-long demonstrations across LA. Three people were arrested.

After a night of rallies in Chicago, dozens of protesters upset with the grand jury's decision camped out at the doors of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office inside City Hall and planned to remain there throughout the day and overnight.

They were holding teach-ins on political issues and "healing circles" for people to discuss experiences with violence in Chicago.

PA Media

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