ANGRY workers and youth defied Saturday night’s midnight-5am curfew imposed in Ferguson, Missouri, where unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot dead by police on August 8.
Heavily-armed police fired shots, pointed rifles and drove armoured vehicles at protestors as they defied the curfew early yesterday morning.
They fired tear gas canisters and smoke bombs at the demonstrators in the St Louis suburb. Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead on a street in Ferguson on 9th August.
Last Friday, Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, revealed the name of the officer who shot the youth as Darren Wilson, and also released CCTV footage which he claimed showed Michael stealing a pack of cigars from a convenience store shortly before he was killed.
But Jackson admitted that Michael had not been stopped because of the incident and that the officer who shot him did not know he was a robbery suspect.
Michael Brown’s family reacted with fury at the release of the CCTV footage, describing themselves as ‘beyond outraged’ and condemning the police attempt to ‘justify the execution-style murder’.
As the curfew took effect at midnight on Saturday, hundreds of protesters remained in the streets, chanting ‘No justice, no curfew!’ and ‘Hands up, don’t shoot!’ in a reference to the killing of Michael, who was shot to death ‘execution style’ by the Ferguson cop, as he held his hands up.
A clash between the protesters and dozens of police officers in riot gear began less than 30 minutes after the curfew took effect and ended about 45 minutes later with the arrest of seven people, all charged with ‘failure to disperse’.
The protesters marched toward the officers — some of whom rode in armoured vehicles — and chanted: ‘We are Mike Brown! We have the right to assemble peacefully!’
At a 3am news conference yesterday morning, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, said 40 FBI agents had been drafted into the town.
As the news briefing ended, Johnson was asked whether the curfew would continue, but he did not answer.
Ferguson is a majority African-American city, but almost all of its political representatives and all but three of its police officers are white.