An estimated 17 people were arrested Sunday, after refusing to leave an unplanned sit-in outside a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo., during a weekend of mostly peaceful protests against police violence, Reuters reports.
Thousands descended on Ferguson and St. Louis, Mo., to protest ongoing violence against Blacks by police in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, last week in the city’s Shaw neighborhood and Michael Brown, 18, this summer in Ferguson.
While the protests that began Friday were mostly peaceful, the arrests came Sunday after protestors refused to leave the sit-in. St. Louis police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said 17 people had been arrested for unlawful assembly early on Sunday at the parking lot of the QuikTrip convenience store. The store became a staging ground for protests over the summer after Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who is White, touching off weeks of sometimes-violent protests.
Last week’s shooting of Myers only inflamed old tensions. The Black teen was shot by an off-duty White officer working for a security firm in what police have described as a firefight.
Union members, gay rights activists, and people from the Occupy Movement from across the nation participated in demonstrations and vigils organized by civil rights organizations and protest groups.
“This isn’t going to stop until there is change with police and Black youth,” said Tory Russell, a founder of Hands Up United.