Ferguson Protesters Arrested as County Declares State of Emergency

Eliott C. McLaughlin et al., CNN, August 10, 2015

A day of civil disobedience that saw several arrests ended Monday with rowdy protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police.

The St. Louis County police said frozen water bottles were thrown at officers, prompting them to order the crowd to disperse or face arrest.

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Earlier, a top St. Louis County official declared a state of emergency, saying violence had marred demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

“The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.

The executive order put St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar in charge of police operations in Ferguson and the surrounding areas, Stenger said.

During the day Monday, roughly 200 demonstrators marched from Christ Church Cathedral to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis. The protesters carried signs, chanted and prayed and demanded the Justice Department take action.

At the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, protesters hung a banner from two balloons. It read, “Racism still lives here #fightback.”

Police arrested 56 people at the courthouse demonstration, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Schron Jackson told CNN.

Video posted to social media showed officers arresting several prominent protesters, including activist and intellectual Cornel West, who was also arrested during an October protest at the Ferguson Police Department.

One of those protesters, Johnetta Elzie, who has been a mainstay of the demonstrations and goes by Netta, tweeted minutes before her arrest, “If I’m arrested today please know I’m not suicidal. I have plenty to live for. I did not resist, I’m just black.”

Later Monday, another group of protesters blocked part of Interstate 70 in Earth City, Missouri. Some of them held yellow signs that said, “Ferguson is everywhere.”

Protesters held hands and formed a line across the highway. About 20 minutes later, troopers cleared the roadway, walking with protesters toward the shoulder and apparently arresting some of them in a nearby parking lot.

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Police and protesters faced off in a tense standoff on West Florissant Avenue, not far from Canfield Drive, where Brown was shot.

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“We’re ready for what? We’re ready for war,” some in the crowd chanted.

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