More than 400 arrested as Ferguson protests spread to other U.S. cities
National Guard troops and police aimed to head off a third night of violence on Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, as more than 400 people have been arrested in the St. Louis suburb and around the United States in unrest after a white policeman was cleared in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Reuters reported.
There have been protests in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and other cities decrying Monday's grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a case that has touched off a debate about race relations in the United States.
Ferguson, a predominately black city, has been hit by two nights of rioting, looting and arson with some businesses burned to the ground, but authorities say an increased security presence on Tuesday night helped quell the violence.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has deployed about 2,200 National Guard troops in and around Ferguson. Police made 45 arrests in Ferguson in the Tuesday night protests, down from 61 in aftermath of Monday's grand jury decision.
"The ramped up presence and action of the Missouri National Guard has been helpful," Nixon said on Wednesday after facing criticism for not deploying enough guardsman in the hours after the grand jury's decision.
Tensions between police and black Americans have simmered for decades, with many blacks feeling the U.S. legal system and law enforcement authorities do not treat them fairly. In Washington, President Barack Obama has tried to keep a lid on anger that has spilled over to other cities and garnered international attention.
Obama remained cautious in his comments in the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson shooting, but has been more expansive in recent days including remarks at the White House after the grand jury's decision. On Monday he said deep distrust exists between police and minorities and that "communities of color aren't just making these problems up."
Russia on Wednesday pointed to rioting in Ferguson and the other protests across the United States as evidence that Moscow's detractors in Washington were hypocrites and in no position to lecture Russia on human rights.
St. Louis police said three people were arrested at a protest near City Hall on Wednesday in which activists staged a mock trial of Wilson, who told the grand jury he shot Brown because he feared for his life.
Ferguson's mayor, James Knowles, is white, as are most of its city council members. A 2013 state attorney general's report found more than 85 percent of motorists pulled over in the city are black, and the arrest rate among blacks is twice the rate among white residents.