FERGUSON, MO (KPLR) – Forty-nine people have been arrested so far, including thirteen at the Ferguson Police Department, in a series of protests across St. Louis related to the August Michael Brown shooting.
Demonstrators marched on the police department about 11 am Monday, led by nationally known civil rights activist, Dr. Cornel West. West led marchers to the police station, and then eventually led a group of mostly clergy to jail.
The arrests were pre-planned by the demonstrators at the police department. Groups walked up to the line of police in riot gear who greeted them there.
In one exchange, a demonstrator said, “We are legally able to have access to a public building.”
He then warned the officers that they were stepping forward, and surrendered to them once they crossed the police line.
Another delivered a short speech before doing the same thing.
“We’re not resisting arrest but we are standing firm for Michael Brown,” he said.
“Michael Brown could not move back so we will not move back.”
The protest, which took place in sometimes torrential rains, was peaceful. While the numbers of arrests were small here, there were scores more among the several hundred on hand who insisted they, too were ready to go to jail.
“I got to that point last night at the mass meeting,” Pamela Germany of Los Angeles said. “I was struggling on the fence. I wasn’t sure. But after last night’s last meeting I decided this was the best. If I’m so passionate about combating social injustices, this is what needs to be done.”
Danielle Dowd of St. Robert told a similar story.
“I was really (convinced) that it was time for me to take a stand and stand with them,” she said.
The protests have gone on for more than three months now. The shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police, which sparked the unrest, happened in August.
Protestors insist their continued pressure will pay off.
“The message is being delivered,” Chester Deanes of Jennings said, “but the authority believes they shouldn’t be open to receive the message from the people.”
Organizers say they are making progress toward their goals.
“We want the attention to this issue to grow wider and wider so real change can happen,” Rev. Rebecca Turner of the Don’t Shoot Coalition said. “Real change has to happen in the policing; the way policing is done here in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis region.”
Smaller groups of protestors hit various locations around the metro area, including the Plaza Frontenac mall, St. Louis City Hall, and the Walmart on Lucas and Hunt Rd.