31 Arrested In Ferguson Overnight, Hours After National Guard Arrives
Peaceful protests were infiltrated with violence in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night, just hours after the National Guard arrived to help quell the city's unrest. According to police officials, 31 people were arrested during the Ferguson protests, while another two people were shot — but not by law enforcement — after police reportedly came under "heavy fire" from a small group of protesters. Four officers were also injured.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Control said that despite the violence directed at police officers, "not a single bullet was fired by officers" on Monday night.
Johnson, an African-American and former resident of Ferguson, expressed that enough was enough in the small city, embroiled in a 10-day-long conflict sparked by the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. "This has to stop. I don't want anybody to get hurt," the captain said. "We have to find a way to stop this."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called in the National Guard on Monday through an executive order. The activation was not authorized by the federal government, President Barack Obama said. He advised Nixon to limit the use of the National Guard, adding that he would be watching their involvement over the next few days to make sure they're not hindering progress.
Nixon also imposed a midnight curfew in Ferguson on Saturday. However, the curfew was lifted by Monday evening.
Both the president and Johnson made it clear that the protesters aren't the ones causing violence. "We have all seen images of protesters and law enforcement in the streets [of Ferguson]," Obama said at Monday's press conference. "It’s clear the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What's also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not."
According to The Huffington Post, a small group group of protesters threw bottles at the officers on Monday night. Shots were also fired, causing the police to order everyone in the area, including the media, to disperse.
But before the chaos, reports say Monday night's protests were somber and subdued. It's still unclear who are the protesters sparking violence, but many Ferguson residents have said they are out-of-towners, looking to start trouble.
Still, Johnson has imposed new protest rules in Ferguson. Protesters are now forbidden from congregating in one place, so they must keep moving throughout the day and night.
Johnson told reporters Monday night:
We are not going to let groups congregate and build into larger groups because that's what causes problems. Because what happens is, the peaceful protesters gather, and the other element blends in. Now they blend in, and that's what's been causing us some issues. So by allowing them to walk, that's not going to let the other element blend in and define this group.
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