For four days Ferguson, Missouri has existed in various states of chaos, conflict, confusion and indignation over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager killed by a cop Saturday night. Wednesday night was, for the most part, peaceful. But following a warning from police to protesters that public assembly should only take place during daylight hours, disorder took hold in the form of marching police, tear gas, rubber bullets and other ammunition of suppression. On this fourth day it was a scene that has become all too familiar for the residents of Ferguson.
“It’s not going to stop,” said Phil Bowdry, wearing a paper surgical mask tucked under his chin in preparation for the tear gas that still hung in the air nearly two hours after the climax of Wednesday night’s round of chaos. “This is just the beginning.”
Bowdry was at the protest with a man who identified himself only as Mike Brown, in solidarity with a phrase many protesters have chanted since the young man’s death: “We are Mike Brown.”
“Did the police get touched?” the anonymous man asked. “No. It was Mike who got gunned down by the police.”
That Brown was unarmed and, according to many on the streets of Ferguson, surrendering to police, is the cause of rage here. The protests that continued Wednesday night are just the latest iteration of that anger. The police presence and response to protesters might be doing more harm than good, drawing citizens to an area of town that has become the focal point of demonstrations over Brown’s death. Adding to the situation’s national implications was the arrest and quick release of two journalists that occurred Wednesday evening, picked up for apparently not vacating a McDonald’s restaurant that has served as a local newsroom for many reporters working here. As Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post noted, however, his situation was one of almost immediate resolution, unlike the dozens who have been arrested by what looks like a militarized police force taking control of this city.
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