Sunday marked the one year anniversary of the shooting of Ferguson, Mo., resident Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, and planned peaceful observances and protests devolved into violence later in the night as some protesters began shooting at police officers. One resident was seriously wounded and several charges filed by authorities as he laid in critical condition in the local hospital.
Some protestors on Sunday night chanted “We are ready for war!“.
A lot has changed in the social justice movement in the last year, with the #BlackLivesMatter campaign gaining a national presence. They have successfully disrupted 2016 presidential campaign speeches, most recently Monday in Seattle completely derailing a planned speech by Senator Bernie Sanders.
County Executive Steve Stenger declared a state of emergency after more protests Monday resulted in over 50 arrests, including several well-known activists outside the St. Louis Federal Courthouse. Traffic on interstate I-70 was temporarily shut down when dozens of protestors blocked the highway.
“The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger,” Mr. Stenger said in a statement. “Chief Belmar shall exercise all powers and duties necessary to preserve order, prevent crimes, and protect the life and property of our citizens.”
On Monday, protesters who had commemorated Mr. Brown throughout the weekend staged acts of civil disobedience across the region. They protested incarceration rates and prison contractors in Clayton, the county seat, and held a rally outside the federal courthouse in St. Louis, where nearly five dozen people were arrested. Another 60 were arrested after shutting down traffic for about 30 minutes during the evening rush on Interstate 70 in the St. Louis suburbs. After night fell, at least 100 protesters gathered on West Florissant Avenue were police in riot gear stood watch.
Some members of the protest movement have questioned the police version of events that led to the shooting of local teenager Tyrone Harris Jr. Some have been critical of the police use of riot gear, while others questioned why plain-clothed officers were part of the enforcement array.
Police have deployed smoke and possible tear gas again Monday evening to disperse crowds after tweeting that the protests were “no longer a peaceful protest”.
[Reuters] [Mediaite] [New York Times] [CBS St. Louis] [Gateway Pundit][Photo courtesy Scott Olson/Getty Images]