'Weekend of Resistance' kicks off in Ferguson
FERGUSON, Missouri– A few thousand protesters participated in a “Justice for All” march in St. Louis on Saturday, one of the largest and most diverse gatherings since activism began over the death of Michael Brown.
Unions, religious groups and student organizations gathered behind banners as flags and posters bobbed down the street while drums thundered above a loud din of chants of “Black lives matter! Black lives matter!”
Peace-keepers and volunteers lined the march route while handfuls of police officers leaned back on their squad cars serving as barricades for the protest. But their precautions proved unnecessary because for the second day in a row the demonstrations remained non-violent.
Over 100 protesters marched peacefully down W. Florissant Ave. on Friday night carrying a mirrored coffin in Michael Brown’s honor, kicking off what organizers coined a “Weekend of Resistance,” a multi-day event designed to pay tribute to the lives of young, black men who have died at the hands of the police.
Brown was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9, sparking national outrage and months of protests over racial disparities in law enforcement.
When protesters arrived at the Ferguson Police Department on Friday, they began playing hip-hop music. Some verbally confronted the 20-or-so police officers standing on the sidelines.
“If you touch a police officer, you will be charged with assault,” police warned over a megaphone. But the crowd remained mostly calm – a distinctly lower level of energy than the groups gathered in the days and weeks here after Brown’s death.
The vigil and march Friday night took on greater significance this week after a second shooting just 12 miles away from Ferguson tapped into the community’s frustrations and sparked yet another round of spontaneous protests.
On Wednesday, a uniformed, off-duty police officer shot 17 bullets at 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr., killing the teen on the spot after he allegedly fired three shots at the officer. According to St. Louis police, a 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene, as were the three bullets apparently fired in the direction of the officer. However, the teen’s family disputes the police account, saying Myers was unarmed and merely carrying a sandwich that he had bought at a local convenience store.