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In St. Louis, A Rally And Protests Over Police Shootings

Responding to a call to gather in St. Louis for a weekend event called Ferguson October, more than 1,000 people are hitting the city's streets to protest the recent killing of young black men by police. While most of the gatherings have been peaceful, some arrests took place last night.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson two months ago this weekend.

Saturday's demonstration in downtown St. Louis attracted a diverse crowd that "was boisterous but peaceful," St. Louis Public Radio's Camille Phillips reports, "and included Latino workers from Chicago, seminary students from New York, and St. Louisans both black and white. Labor groups and Veterans for Peace also joined the march."

Organizers say Sunday's events will include church services and training in nonviolent civil disobedience, in the hope of improving the community's dialogue with officials over the deaths of Brown and another young man who died Wednesday after being shot by an off-duty police officer.

St. Louis Public Radio's Durrie Bouscaren reports for our Newscast unit:

"Supporters have come to St. Louis from across the country for Ferguson October, a 3-day weekend of civil disobedience that some have coined 'social justice tourism.'

"A daytime march Saturday brought in a crowd of more than 1,000. A number of related events also went on without incident. But the night ended with arrests.

"Around 1 a.m., about 100 protesters marched to a Quik Trip gas station in St. Louis. When police in riot gear responded, dozens of people sat on the sidewalk outside. It was not immediately clear how many arrests were made."

Bouscaren adds, "Lately, protests have been split between Ferguson and the south side of St. Louis, where an off-duty officer shot and killed 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers a few days ago."

The circumstances of that shooting are in dispute, with the police saying Myers had a gun, and fired first. His family says he was unarmed.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson was present at the protests late last night.

"The @ SLMPD has alerted Quicktrips in the area to be on alert for potential protestors & civil unrest," Dotson tweeted. "This behavior will not be tolerated."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.