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Protestors armed with signs that read “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” flooded W. Florissant Street on Thursday to walk towards the burned down QuikTrip that has now become the symbol of Ferguson’s latest tragedy.

Missing from the scene were the militarized vehicles and gear St. Louis police used in an extreme show of force to disperse protestors who gathered near the area where an unarmed Michael Brown was shot and killed. In its place lay a new sense of hope and safety from the tear gas and rubber bullets that descended on the community for nearly a week.

Days after the 18-year-old was shot by Officer Darren Wilson, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would take control, ousting the Ferguson and St. Louis departments that clashed with residents for four nights.

The difference in mood was tremendous — Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol, appointed to lead the security, hugged residents, spoke with concerned parents and led protestors down the streets of Ferguson.

Ferguson resident Nebra Johnson noted the change, telling GlobalGrind that protests were something she needed her three children, ages 16, 12, and 8, to see.

“If you don’t show your children to stand up for something, who will?” she said.

The sentiment among protestors marching in Brown’s name was the same as they walked to Greater St. Marks Church and back down Chambers.

Hundreds gathered in front of the charred QuikTrip, calling for justice peacefully, as cars backed up for nearly a mile beeped their horns in support:

At one point, police intervened to assist a young woman who was injured by a passing vehicle. Tensions, however, remained low.

Check out some of the images from Thursday’s protests and vigils:

PHOTO SOURCE: Getty, Twitter, Instagram

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