Ferguson police arrest 47 as peaceful protest degenerates

Ferguson police arrest 47 as peaceful protest degenerates

FERGUSON, United States - Police said Wednesday they had arrested 47 people as tensions rose after an otherwise peaceful night of protests in Ferguson, the Missouri town rocked by violence over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Three guns were seized in the latest protest rally in Ferguson, which has become ground zero of a new national debate on police treatment of minorities after Michael Brown, 18, was shot August 9 by a white police officer.

Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said protesters threw glass and plastic bottles of water and urine at police towards the end of Tuesday night's protest, prompting officers to intervene and make the arrests.

Johnson stressed that unlike a violent protest Monday night, this time protesters did not fire guns at police and officers refrained from using tear gas to break up the rally.

"Tonight we saw a different dynamic," he said.

He attributed this to a concerted effort by community leaders, activists and clergy to keep the rally peaceful and prevent it from being taken over by what he described as violent "agitators".

Fears that the fatal police shooting of a knife-wielding black man might renew tensions failed to materialize, after successive nights of clashes with police in Ferguson.

"Hands up, don't shoot!" protesters chanted, holding their hands in the air in what has become the signature slogan of Ferguson's frustration with its overwhelmingly white police department.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is to visit Ferguson on Wednesday amid an ongoing federal investigation into possible civil rights violations.

A grand jury is meanwhile to begin Wednesday hearing witnesses to Brown's killing, amid calls for the police officer, Darren Wilson, to be put on trial for murder.

Meanwhile Brown's family was preparing for his funeral, which their lawyer said would take place on Monday.

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