150 people arrested over 2 days in Ferguson, state of emergency still in effect

Despite largely peaceful protests to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the police shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, police cracked down on activists and arrested 150 people in multiple demonstrations across St. Louis, Missouri.

Police were bracing for more protests in Ferguson on Tuesday, but by late afternoon there had been no major rallies.

A state of emergency, declared on Monday, is still in effect, as protesters have been marching and staging acts of civil disobedience since Sunday, which marked the one-year anniversary of Brown’s killing by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Wilson was never charged in his death.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that police would give protesters leeway to march, but authorities had to maintain public safety.

In one incident on Monday, police carrying riot shields rushed a crowd of protesters, prompting many of them to scream and run, according to Reuters. Protesters were arrested for allegedly throwing frozen water bottles and rocks at police, among other offenses, according to the St. Louis County Police Department.

Of the 150 people detained in jail, more than 65 were arrested outside the federal courthouse for crossing the barricades and another 85 were arrested while trying to disperse after a freeway blockade in west St. Louis County.

Among those arrested were nine legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). One observer was interrogated while in jail.

The NLG condemns the state of emergency in St. Louis and the targeting of political organizers,” said Pooja Gehi, the executive director for the NLG, who was one of those arrested Monday night while observing police, in a released statement.

My wrongful arrest while trying to record police abuse is further evidence that law enforcement has nothing but contempt for political resistance and those who would try to protect it.”

The NLG also condemned the extensive use of pepper spray and tear gas on peaceful protesters over the past two days. Use of a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which is used to convey warnings, had also been witnessed.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that four white men carrying military-style rifles and wearing side-arms were seen patrolling the streets of Ferguson. They say they are part of a group made up of current US soldiers and police called “Oath Keepers,” and that their aim is to protect the US Constitution.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights group that monitors hate groups in the US, said Oath Keepers is known to be a “fiercely anti-government, militaristic group.

Rallies were marred by violence on Sunday, which included a drive-by shooting, and several instances of rocks and bottles being hurled at police. Tyrone Harris, an 18-year-old accused of firing on police, was shot and critically wounded in the commotion.

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