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At a demonstration in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, August 10. (Photo: Reuters)

Police Arrest 50 Demonstrators as State of Emergency Declared in Ferguson

Under Moral Monday banner, protesters marking one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death take part in civil disobedience outside Ferguson courthouse

Deirdre Fulton

At least 50 people were arrested outside the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, where they were demanding the dissolution of the Ferguson Police Department.

Meanwhile, despite mostly peaceful protests marred by an officer-involved shooting overnight that left a teenager in critical condition, the St. Louis County declared a state of emergency for Ferguson on Monday. Demonstrators are marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown, who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.

"In light of last night's violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency effective immediately," County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement. "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."

Under the order, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar immediately took control of policing in Ferguson.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an estimated 150 demonstrators gathered at Christ Church Cathedral on Locust early Monday, then marched to the courthouse, where they chanted "DOJ, do your job" and read from a petition that asked the federal government to disband the Ferguson Police Department. The group, which contained members of the clergy and prominent civil rights activists, marched under the 'Moral Monday' banner.

The Post-Dispatch reports:

Shortly before 1 p.m., about 50 protesters climbed over the barricades that had been set up outside of the courthouse and sat down, locked arms and began singing and chanting.

When that protesters' move did not produce any arrests after about 20 minutes, the seated group rose and rushed toward the front door of the courthouse, and sat down again. Shortly after that, about 30 members of the St. Louis Police Department arrived on the scene and arrests began.

About 2:30 p.m., city police reported that 56 people had been arrested. The arrests appeared to be non-confrontational and no visible physical altercations appeared to have taken place.


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