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Rival Rallies Held in Ferguson, Missouri as Calm Prevails

  • VOA News

Rival rallies were held Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where tensions are easing two weeks after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager following a confrontation on a neighborhood street.

The St. Louis County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) organized a march in support of 18-year-old Michael Brown, while supporters of the officer who shot him -- Darren Wilson -- gathered elsewhere.

Police say Brown and Wilson were involved in a struggle, but most witnesses say the August 9 shooting was unprovoked.

Supporters of officer Darren Wilson hold posters outside Barney's Sports Pub in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 23, 2014.

Supporters of officer Darren Wilson hold posters outside Barney's Sports Pub in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 23, 2014.

Friday marked the third consecutive night of calm between police and protesters following nearly two weeks of unrest and violence.

Brown funeral set for Monday

Authorities, however, are bracing for a possible resurgence of anger with Brown's funeral set for Monday.

The White House announced Saturday that three presidential aides
would attend Brown's funeral. They are Broderick Johnson, head of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, and Marlon Marshall and Heather Foster from the White House Office of Public Engagement.

In New York Saturday, demonstrators gathered to seek justice in the death of another unarmed black man, Eric Garner, who died after a white police officer placed him in a chokehold. Thousands of people marched through Staten Island with civil rights activist, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and relatives of Garner.

The National Guard began pulling out of Ferguson Friday after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered their removal, saying the situation had "greatly improved."

150 arrests

More than 150 people have been arrested in Ferguson since the protests began -- most of them for failing to disperse at the request of police.

Many have complained that the police response to the protests has been heavy-handed, while the shooting itself has raised allegations of institutionalized racism and excessive use of force.

The incident has highlighted the racial divide in the mostly black town of Ferguson, where almost all police and local politicians are white. On a broader scale, it has put the spotlight on racial tensions across the United States.

Parallels have been drawn between the killing of Brown and the 2012 shooting death of another unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed in Florida by a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer. His death led to protests nationwide.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

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