17 arrested in St. Louis as sit-in against police brutality proclaimed ‘unlawful’

17 arrested in St. Louis as sit-in against police brutality proclaimed ‘unlawful’
St. Louis police have arrested at least 17 people for an “unlawful assembly” as activists staged a spontaneous sit-in outside a convenience store following a mass march, part of a four-day “Ferguson October” public event to protest police brutality.

Early on Sunday morning between 100 and 200 people marched on a QT (QuikTrip) convenience store at Vandeventer and Chouteau. Protesters sat down, surrounding the convenience store.

They staged a brief a sit-in at around 1 am local time, which local police spokeswoman Schron Jackson has called an “unlawful assembly”.

But according to Police Chief Sam Dotson, protesters were “attempting to storm” the store and showed “illegal behavior”.

Sam Dotson then tweeted that protesters started “throwing rocks at the police” as they were asked to leave the area.

Police reportedly used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Police officers in riot gear hold a line as they watch demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown and 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. at a QuikTrip convince store and gas station October, 12 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

But protesters say that their sit-in was peaceful.

“We were just sitting there. Police came closer and closer to us. Everybody was sitting down, linked-up, holding hands,” a female participant has told CBS.

Police officers in riot gear hold a line as demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown and 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. at a QuikTrip convince store and gas station October, 12 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

The impromptu sit-in outside QT was part of a two day “Ferguson October” public event, which lasts through Monday.

READ MORE: 'Terror on American soil': #FergusonOctober stages 4-day rally as shooting anger rages

Mass events have been planned on October 10-13 - the “Weekend of Resistance” – after a second black man 18-year-old Vonderrick Myers Jr was shot dead by an off-duty white police officer, who reportedly fired at him up to 17 times.

READ MORE: ‘Justice for everyone!’ Thousands stand up against police brutality in Ferguson, St. Louis

On Saturday hundreds of protesters held a “Justice for All” march and rally in downtown St. Louis. The mother of Michael Brown, who was killed in the August 9 shooting, marched with a group of some 300 people on Ferguson police department.

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown and 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. holds her hands in the air as she looks at police officers in riot gear at a QuikTrip convince store and gas station October, 12 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)

Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown and 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. kneel as they face police officers in riot gear at a QuikTrip convince store and gas station October, 12 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Civil rights organizations, protest groups and people from around the country were protesting the August 9 shooting of Brown, which involved Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson and Meyers, who was shot and killed last week by an off duty St. Louis police officer. (AFP Photo/Joshua Lott)