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St. Louis errupts for a fourth night

Protesters in the US city of St. Louis, Missouri, have marched for a fourth night over the acquittal of a white former police officer in the fatal shooting of a black man.

Published: September 19, 2017, 11:06 am

    Rally organisers said they planned to hold another march on Tuesday. After dark on Monday, protesters clashed with riot police and there were reports of vandalism and property damage. Some officers were assaulted with chemicals and rocks, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

    Although more than 120 people were arrested over the weekend, the riots showed no signs of calming down. For three nights in a row, demonstrators have been out in the streets. An angry mob protested outside the prison to call for the release of protesters still in police custody.

    Protesters chanted “free our people” outside, saying many were still behind bars 24 hours later. Some 123 protesters were arrested on Sunday for failing to disperse, officers said and not all of them have been released. They said there were no arrests or incidents on Monday night, following a weekend of violence.

    Earlier, several hundred people also marched in the city’s downtown, while high school students from at least two districts also joined a protest. Police recovered at least five weapons during the arrests, the police chief said, but the Democratic mayor and police chief refused to take questions from the media.

    The protests began on Friday after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to convict former police officer Jason Stockley of murdering a black drug suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith, following a car chase in 2011. Prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted the gun, but the judge in the bench trial said it would have been impossible.

    In his ruling Friday, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson said the prosecution’s argument was “not supported by the evidence”. The gun was too large, Wilson said, for Stockley to hide it from the cameras at the scene.

    The Stockley incident happened almost three years before a white officer Darren Wilson killed a black man, Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, but the unrest in Ferguson renewed Black Lives Matter interest in the case.

    “When black lives are under attack, what do we do?” a woman screamed into a megaphone. “Stand up, fight back,” the crowd responded, according to CNN.

    Several windows in the Marriott hotel on Washington Avenue and at other nearby businesses were broken

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