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US - Demonstrators march on Ferguson Police Department

Ferguson, MISSOURI (AA) – More than a hundred demonstrators broke from previous nights of protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson as they marched beyond the limited route imposed by authorities on previous nights and on to the city’s police station Friday. The largely peaceful group had initially stuck to the established route before marching nearly three miles (4.8 km) to the station, yelling “We young, we strong, we marching all night long,” “We want justice, ” and “I’ve got my hands on my head, please don’t shoot me dead.” Police initially attempted to keep protesters confined to sidewalks, telling them to keep off the street as they marched on, but were later largely absent for much of the walk. Officers had already established a perimeter in front of the police department when protesters arrived prompting them to set up an impromptu protest area across the street in a vacant parking lot. They then prayed, chanted, danced and sang across the street from the police line.  Prior to the long march, the scene on West Florissant Avenue was largely communal with a band playing music and free food being distributed at a mobile barbecue.
Civil unrest began the day after Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year-old black man, was shot and killed by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. Since then, while peaceful demonstrations have taken place during the daytime, sporadic violent protests have also erupted, mostly at night, on West Florissant Avenue, just blocks from the scene of the deadly confrontation.
Throughout the day on Friday, people continued to pay their respects to the slain teen at a memorial at the site where he was shot, lining the center of the street with roses, and partaking in an arts project. Elizabeth Vega, a St. Louis community artist and activist, has taken what she calls a “story wall” to various protest sites around the city to allow mourners, protesters and residents to express their reactions to Brown’s killing by writing on items, such as masks and stickers, and then placing them on to the board.
“When you’re out in the streets and you’re protesting and you’re shouting ‘no peace, no justice,’ it’s easy to get very lost in the midst of that, and this is extremely personal for a lot of people,” she said near Brown's memorial. “What the wall does is allow us to express those personal thoughts, but also place it within the collective.”
Vega hopes to make the wall into a permanent fixture. Friday’s demonstrations are the third consecutive night of relative calm between police and demonstrators since protests erupted nearly two weeks ago. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, had ordered on Thursday the U.S. National Guard to begin withdrawing from the St. Louis suburb.
This relative tranquility was jeopardized by the release on Thursday of a new video depicting the shooting death of Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man, by police just four miles from Ferguson potentially jeopardizing the relative calm. Powell can be seen in the video moving erratically as police approach. “Shoot me. Shoot me now,” he says during the confrontation.
As he approaches the officers, he is shot repeatedly, less than 20 seconds after the officers exit their vehicle.
Law enforcement said that Powell had a knife in his hand during the confrontation, although that cannot be verified on the video due to its quality.

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