FERGUSON, MISSOURI —
The central U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri was much calmer Tuesday night, as riot police appeared to outnumber the small number of demonstrators marking the first anniversary of the shooting death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.
As midnight approached, a few dozen people were on the streets, mostly mingling quietly on the side of the road.
It was a stark contrast to Monday night, when police arrested about two dozen protesters in the St. Louis suburb after demonstrators pelted them with rocks and bottles.
The tumultuous scene on Ferguson's streets, with mostly black protesters clashing with police equipped in riot gear, was further complicated by the appearance of a new group, white militiamen calling themselves Oath Keepers and wearing bulletproof vests and carrying rifles and pistols.
The anti-government activist group said it was in Ferguson to protect businesses from rioters and looters, but St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said their presence was "both unnecessary and inflammatory."
As night fell Monday, dozens of protesters repeatedly defied police orders to stay off the street and stopped traffic on West Florissant Avenue, the scene of riots and looting over the last year, following the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of officer Darren Wilson.
The demonstrations that followed Brown's killing in August 2014 threw the St. Louis suburb into the national spotlight and sparked calls for better treatment of minorities by police.
Sunday night in Ferguson, officers shot and seriously wounded an 18-year old suspect they say opened fire on them, leading to charges against the suspect and a state of emergency declared in St. Louis County to stem further violence.
Police on Tuesday released surveillance video that they say shows the suspect, Tyrone Harris Jr., appearing to pull a weapon from his waistband moments before he was shot by officers.
Harris remains in critical condition.