CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon and set a curfew for Ferguson residents from midnight to 5 am. Highway Patrol chief Ron Johnson said the curfew would not be enforced by tear gas, but through conversations.
After a day of peaceful protests marked by hugs and selfies with police officers, Ferguson turned violent late Friday night, a week after a police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown. According to reports on the ground, police started throwing tear gas canisters, smoke bombs, and flash bombs into the crowd after someone threw a bottle at officers.
A little after midnight, a large crowd broke into the QuikTrip convenience store that police claimed Brown robbed before his death.
Inside of the partially looted market. It is still standing and largely unthreatened. pic.twitter.com/Cgkyv725xs
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) August 16, 2014
A Pizza Hut was also set on fire early Saturday morning. But as looters began gaining momentum, peaceful demonstrators stood in their way and tried to keep them back. Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who has been meticulously recording the protests, tweeted photos of protesters forming chains to protect the stores and trying to calm down the crowd.
I'm really proud of those who ran to block looters. They tried to redirect back to the chant "Hands up! Don't shoot!" pic.twitter.com/dARQl1xTyx
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
Nixon, who has been criticized for staying silent during the first few days of protesting, called for peace at a Saturday press conference. “If we’re going to have justice, we must first have and maintain peace,” he said. “The eyes of the world are watching.”