Iraq? Afghanistan? Police gear up against Ferguson protesters (PHOTOS)
The initially peaceful protests were prompted by the police shooting an unarmed teenager on Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri. It is not clear what prompted the shooting nor have the police yet revealed the name of the officer who shot Brown. Spreading rumors and lack of official information have fueled the protests on the streets of the suburb.
The protests escalated due to excessive force the police used to disperse the protesters. On Wednesday the police announced on a speakerphone at the scene that it was no longer a peaceful protest and urged the people to vacate the location.
As many protesters stayed the security forces used teargas canisters and began advancing at the crowd.
The protesters chanted "Hands up, don't shoot" and “we are peaceful” as the police line pushed forward dispersing the crowd. According to witnesses Brown had raised his arms to police to show that he was unarmed before being killed.
Video footage and photos show dense clouds of gas the security forces used against the protesters on Wednesday night.
The Ferguson demonstrators faced heavily armed forces who at times trained weapons on them from armored trucks.
“A few people have pointed it out, but our ROE regarding who we could point weapons at in Afghanistan was more restrictive than cops in MO,” noted US Marine Logistics Officer Jeff Clement on his Twitter account.
“I don't know how it was in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Bosnia we had less firepower while on patrol than the cops in Ferguson,” commented Retired Navy Chief Dan Bramos on his Twitter.
AP reported the police offensive was a response to the Molotov cocktails thrown at them.
Many people were detained, including journalists Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post.
The Al Jazeera-America crew was also attacked and tear-gassed by security forces as they tried to film the protest.
Huffington Post reported that according to Reilly, who previously reported from the notorious Guantanamo Bay military facility, “police resembled soldiers more than officers.”
On Thursday, President Barack Obama condemned police treatment of journalists covering the protests in Ferguson during a speech in Edgartown, Massachusetts.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the arrest of US journalists while they were covering riots saying it was unacceptable.
“Summarily rounding up journalists while they are doing their jobs sends a dangerous precedent and must never be condoned,” said an OSCE representative for freedom of mass media Dunja Mijatovic on Thursday.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued a statement Wednesday saying the conflict "does not represent who we are” urging the police to “keep the peace, while safeguarding rights of citizens and the press.”