Vi­o­lence rages in Fer­gu­son

Dozens held while protests over grand jury’s rul­ing rage

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

SCHOOLS closed in the St Louis sub­urb of Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, and demon­stra­tions were planned yes­ter­day out­side the court where a grand jury cleared a white po­lice of­fi­cer over the fa­tal Au­gust shoot­ing of an un­armed black teen, spark­ing vi­o­lent protests.

About a dozen build­ings in Fer­gu­son burnt overnight and po­lice fired tear­gas and stun grenades at pro­test­ers, St Louis County Po­lice Chief Jon Bel­mar said. Sixty-one peo­ple were ar­rested, he added. Although no se­ri­ous in­juries were re­ported, Bel­mar said the ri­ot­ing on Mon­day night and early yes­ter­day was much worse than dis­tur­bances which erupted in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the shoot­ing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by po­lice of­fi­cer Dar­ren Wilson on Au­gust 9.

Protests were also staged on Mon­day night in New York, Chicago, Seat­tle, Los An­ge­les, Oak­land in Cal­i­for­nia and Wash­ing­ton, DC over a case that has high­lighted long-stand­ing racial ten­sions not just in pre­dom­i­nantly black Fer­gu­son, but across the US.

Schools in Fer­gu­son and its sur­round­ing ci­ties planned not to open yes­ter­day. Pro­test­ers were sched­uled to demon­strate yes­ter­day out- side the court in Clayton, Mis­souri, where the grand jury sat.

The ri­ot­ing came de­spite calls for calm from of­fi­cials rang­ing from Mis­souri Gov­er­nor Jay Nixon to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Ac­tivist lead­ers had spent weeks train­ing pro­test­ers in non-vi­o­lent civil dis­obe­di­ence tech­niques, and po­lice had also been through con­flict deesca­la­tion train­ing, though tem­pers flared after crowds threw bricks at po­lice and set pa­trol cars on fire after the grand jury’s decision.

Of­fi­cials dis­closed the rul­ing well after sun­set and hours after say­ing it was com­ing, a set of cir­cum­stances that led to pro­test­ers tak­ing to the streets well after dark.

“I didn’t see a lot of peace­ful protests out there,” Bel­mar said, adding that the ri­ot­ing was “prob­a­bly far worse than the worst night” of demon­stra­tions in Au­gust after Brown’s death.

“Un­for­tu­nately, this spun out of con­trol,” he added.

PIC­TURE: AP

BURN­ING ANGER: Pro­test­ers gather around burn­ing refuse in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, yes­ter­day after the an­nounce­ment that a grand jury had de­cided not to in­dict Fer­gu­son po­lice of­fi­cer Dar­ren Wilson over the fa­tal shoot­ing of un­armed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Thou­sands of pro­test­ers de­scended on Oak­land.

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