Fer­gu­son protests a year af­ter Brown shoot­ing

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LOIC HOF­ST­EDT

Hun­dreds of protesters ral­lied in Fer­gu­son, in the south­east­ern U.S. state of Mis­souri on Satur­day to mark a year since po­lice killed un­armed black teen Michael Brown, whose death sparked un­rest and a na­tional de­bate about race re­la­tions in Amer­ica.

Led by Brown’s fam­ily, a crowd marched along one of the av­enues hit by fierce ri­ot­ing last Novem­ber when a court de­cided not to in­dict the white of­fi­cer who shot the teenager.

Marchers shouted slo­gans such as “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “We do this for who? We do this for Mike Brown” dur­ing a day­time rally with a chil­dren’s march­ing band bring­ing up the rear of the pa­rade.

But protesters grew more con­fronta­tional later, when around 200 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the po­lice head­quar­ters chant­ing: “Hey hey, ho ho, these killer cops have got to go!”

Sev­eral protesters jumped over a bar­ri­cade around the build­ing and faced off with po­lice of­fi­cers, although the crowd even­tu­ally dis­persed with­out vi­o­lence.

De­mon­stra­tors had ear­lier bar­be­qued a pig — onto which they had placed a po­lice hat — and tried to give its cooked head to of­fi­cers.

The shoot­ing of 18-year-old Fer- gu­son lo­cal Brown on Aug. 9, 2014 sparked vi­o­lent un­rest and prompted a broader con­ver­sa­tion about race in Amer­ica, par­tic­u­larly po­lice treat­ment of African-Amer­i­cans.

At the ear­lier march, which ended at Brown’s Nor­mandy High School, his fa­ther told re­porters he was work­ing hard at “keep­ing my son’s life still around” and do­ing “what­ever I can do to em­power us as a peo­ple.”

Asked what has changed in Amer­ica’s tor­tured race re­la­tions over the past year, he said: “Noth­ing, for me. Some fam­i­lies got jus­tice through Michael Brown’s legacy, and that helped them. But I’m still try­ing to get through.”

On Sun­day, protesters will ob­serve si­lence for 4.5 min­utes — re­flect­ing the 4.5 hours Brown’s body lay face down in the street af­ter the shoot­ing be­fore it was taken away.

They will also stage a silent march to a church and hold a re­li­gious ser­vice.

The ri­ots that erupted in Fer­gu­son spread to other U.S. cities and en­er­gized de­bate on how white po­lice in Amer­ica treat blacks, es­pe­cially young black men and par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the use of lethal force.

A string of U.S. po­lice killings of black sus­pects since the shoot­ing has trig­gered an out­pour­ing of anger at per­ceived po­lice racism and prompted calls for change.

In the latest such in­ci­dent Fri­day, a Texas po­lice of­fi­cer fa­tally shot 19-year-old un­armed col­lege football player Chris­tian Tay­lor af­ter he drove his ve­hi­cle through the front of a car deal­er­ship.

“As of­fi­cers con­fronted the sus­pect, there was an al­ter­ca­tion dur­ing which at least one of­fi­cer dis­charged his weapon,” the Ar­ling­ton, Texas po­lice depart­ment said in a state­ment.

AP

Fire-eater Laura Charles per­forms along­side protesters out­side the Fer­gu­son Po­lice Depart­ment in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, Satur­day, Aug. 8.

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