Uneasy calm returns to Ferguson as protests continue nationwide
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 27 (IANS) An uneasy calm returned to Ferguson Thursday after two nights of unrest over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in August.
No incidents or confrontations were reported from the small St Louis (Missouri) suburb of 22,000, nearly 70 percent of them black, which exploded after Monday night’s verdict as the US began the Thanksgiving holiday, according to media reports.
Nationwide, protests continued, but they too were peaceful for the most part, CNN reported.
In Los Angeles, police arrested 130 protesters on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse.
In Oakland, California, police arrested 35 people for a variety of charges related to protests.
After the jury verdict, protesters vandalised, looted, and torched local businesses in the Ferguson area, according to a local media report.
Among the 40 affected businesses was Dellwood Market, a convenience store owned by Mumtaz Lalani, a South Asian whose store was vandalised in August too.
A few dozen protesters showed up outside police headquarters in Ferguson late Wednesday night and fired obscenities at National Guard members, whose numbers in the town has been tripled from 700 to 2,200.
A group rushed into City Hall in neighbouring St.Louis screaming “Shame, shame”, according to a CBS report. Police locked down the building and called in more than 100 extra officers. Three people were arrested, it said.
About 200 demonstrators marched through downtown St. Louis and held a mock trial of the white police officer Darren Wilson, the news channel said.
Meanwhile, Wilson, who has been cleared in the shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown, is in talks to leave the Ferguson Police Department and may give up being an officer altogether, CNN said citing his lawyer.
Wilson has said he killed Brown out of fear for his life during their encounter Aug 9 and he has a clear conscience.
Brown’s parents, on the other hand told CNN their son would never have taunted the officer, nor reached for his weapon. “He’s a murderer,” Brown’s father said, referring to Wilson.
In New York City, Brown’s parents joined the families of two other black men who were unarmed when they died at the hands of police.
The families joined arms with civil rights leader Al Sharpton and prayed for justice at the Harlem headquarters of Sharpton’s organization, the National Action Network.