LOUIS (AFP) – Thousands of people took to the streets of the midwestern US city of St Louis on Saturday to protest police tactics in the wake of the racially charged shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
Demonstrators gathered down-town in the morning hours, some hoisting signs reading “Black Lives Matter!” and “Justice for All.”
The protest was part of a so-called “weekend of resistance” organised in the aftermath of the August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
Police say officer Darren Wilson – who is white – shot Brown after he attacked him and tried to seize his gun, but witnesses say the unarmed teen was shot after he put his hands up in the air. The protests began Friday and are due to last four days.
On Saturday, women held up a large white banner dotted with colourful paper cutouts of hands and hearts in solidarity with mothers who say they have lost their children to police violence.
The diverse crowd spanning several generations marched to a plaza in downtown St. Louis, where they took part in a rally.
Some protesters carried a large paper and cardboard replica of Brown with his hands up in the air. Others wore black t-shirts with the slogan, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!”
An AFP journalist estimated the crowd at more than 5,000 people. Police and organisers did not immediately respond to requests for turnout figures.