, FERGUSON, Aug 17 – The governor of the US state of Missouri declared a state of emergency and curfew Saturday following race tinged violence in the suburb where an officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager.
The curfew will begin overnight and last from midnight until 5:00 am for the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, where 18 year old Michael Brown was shot dead by police a week ago.
“To protect the people and property of Ferguson today, I signed an order declaring a state of emergency and ordering implementation of a curfew in the impacted area of Ferguson,” Governor Jay Nixon told reporters.
“This is not to silence the people of Ferguson or this region or others but to contain those who are drowning out the voice of the people with their actions.”
During his press conference Nixon was repeatedly interrupted by locals angered by an apparent lack of accountability for the largely white police force responsible for Brown’s death in the majority black area.
“Excuse me, governor, you need to charge that police officer with murder,” said one, referring to the white officer who shot Brown. The comments were met with echoes of “Yeah!”
“Call for an investigation,” said another, as palpable anger and frustration simmered in the church hall where the briefing took place. “Where’s the indictment?”
Others demanded that police guard their homes and businesses.
“What we’re doing now is not who we are,” Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, in charge of restoring peace to the restive town, said as he sought to calm the press conference.
“Yelling at each other is not going to solve that.
“I don’t care who you are, how old you are, and I don’t care if you were peaceful protesters last night or a rioter rioting, you’ll still get the same answers. Tonight we will enforce it with curfew. We won’t enforce it with trucks and tear gas. We’ll communicate and tell you it’s time to go home.”
Riot police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters overnight as renewed unrest came hours after police announced Friday that Brown had been the suspect in a robbery at a convenience store in Ferguson.
Nixon said that the FBI had boosted its presence in Ferguson in efforts to advance the investigation into Brown’s death, bringing an extra 40 agents who were going door to door Saturday seeking additional witnesses.
After a calm Thursday night a marked break from violence that had characterized the four previous nights the announcements served only to ratchet up tensions again, with people targeting shops, reportedly including the one where Brown carried out the alleged robbery on August 9.