Ferguson protesters arrested for trying to block highway while calling for new prosecutor
(Reuters) – More than 100 demonstrators attempted to block a U.S. highway and some were arrested in clashes with authorities on Wednesday in a protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Protesters sitting or standing in the road around Interstate 70 on-ramps near the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 were arrested, the newspaper said. At one point two people threw a bottle and a brick at police.
The report did not say how many people were arrested.
Missouri law enforcement agencies did not respond to requests for comment.
St. Louis County and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers closed the highway on-ramp to traffic and told demonstrators they could not hang signs on the overpass or enter onto the highway, the Post-Dispatch said.
Organizers told the newspaper the protests were over Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s refusal to replace the St. Louis County prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting.
“They are not going to allow us to get on the highway as we planned. But we did tie them up for a few hours,” St. Louis lawyer Eric Vickers told the newspaper in the late afternoon.
The protests came after Ferguson city leaders confronted demands for reform from an angry crowd on Tuesday night at their first public meeting since Brown’s death.
The shooting fueled a national debate on race relations in the U.S. after nightly protests descended at times into violence and rioting in Ferguson.
(Reporting By Brendan O’Brien and Eric M. Johnson)
[Image: Demonstrators protest against the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 19, 2014. By Joshua Lott for Reuters]