St. Louis protesters clash with police ahead of ‘Weekend of Resistance’
Following the death of Vonderrick Myers Jr., in which a police officer allegedly shot the 18-year old black teenager 17 times, a wave of clashes has erupted between law enforcement and protesters in the city for two consecutive nights, with hundreds of protesters taking to the streets.
Though these new protests have not been as violent as in nearby Ferguson in August, in which local resident 18 year-old Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, the St Louis unrest also resulted in several damaged police vehicles, protesters getting pepper sprayed and even the burning of an American flag by a group of demonstrators.
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Protesters chanted “No justice, no peace!” while police, armed with riot equipment, threatened to arrest those who refused to disperse from Tower Grove Park, where protesters gathered Thursday evening.
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Ferguson October National Mobilization begins with ‘Weekend of Resistance’
Activists are planning to step up protests over the weekend, preparing four days of protest marches and rallies against police abuse with thousands of participants.
One march is set to start in St. Louis at 3:00 pm Friday, and is expected to last for at least two hours.
“To kick off our Weekend of Resistance, we will march on Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch’s office to demand Justice for Mike Brown. In order to get that, he needs to step aside,” the Ferguson October website said. The online resource was created to direct Ferguson October National Mobilization protest activities.
On Friday evening, a remembrance and candlelight march is planned from 8 pm to 1 am, and protesters intend to create a “memorial altar” for victims of police violence.
A larger event is planned for Saturday, October 11, under the slogan, “Justice for All: National March and Rally.”
“Thousands of people from Ferguson, St Louis and the nation will come together and show our strength as we stand united against police violence, both here in Ferguson and across the country,” the Ferguson October website declares.
Protesters will march through downtown St Louis to arrive and rally at Keiner Plaza, “sending a message across the world: Not One More,” the website said.
Thousands of Americans have already registered on the website and many intend to come to St Louis from as far afield as Los Angeles and New York to join the protesters.
Ferguson October also calls on supporters to sign a petition demanding that “the federal government… implement critical reforms to end abusive, militarized, and biased policing targeting of black and brown communities.”
Myers’ killing occurred when an off-duty white police officer killed the 18-year-old teen in the after what police claim was a series of shots fired at the police officer involved. Myers’ relatives insist he was unarmed, however.
Exactly two months earlier, on August 9, the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson sparked violent protests that lasted for weeks.
“We have serious questions about the right of an off-duty officer to wear his uniform when they aren’t on the job,” Ferguson October said in a statement. “We have serious questions about what the St Louis City Police are calling a ‘pedestrian check.’ Most of us know this practice as ‘stop & frisk.’”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles revealed that the local police are preparing to deal with large crowds and possible violence this weekend.
“There are a lot of people coming into town,” the mayor said. “We are going to be prepared. There is intel out there that there are people wanting to do bad things. And people who want to cause a problem are going to use that [the shooting on Wednesday] as a rallying cry,” Knowles said, Reuters reported.