Several protesters were arrested Wednesday night in Ferguson, Missouri, ahead of the grand jury’s announcement whether officer Darren Wilson-who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown– will be indicted.
According to The Guardian, at least six people were arrested as as police officers charged at demonstrators who in protest sounded sirens, shouted abuse at police, and revived chants of ” hands up, don’t shoot” among the crowd.
They arrested at least six people including Bassem Masri, an activist-journalist who officers said had a series of outstanding warrants to his name. Others were grabbed by officers from the ground on South Florissant Road after refusing to retreat to the pavement underneath a “Season’s Greetings” banner in temperatures of -2C (28F).
Amid police tensions and below freezing temperatures, one protester refused to give up his rights to protest:
I will stand here because I have the right to stand here,” said Walter Rice, 75, who was banging a large metal bucket with a spoon in time to the chants. Several other stalwarts of the demonstrations in August were also among the crowd.
Police chiefs have stressed the right of officers to put on riot gear when their safety was at risk. Wednesday night’s protest served no real threat and had even begun to die down before police rushed at protesters leading to the arrest.
Ahead of the grand jury’s announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton is currently organizing rallies in 25 cities. The rallies, through Sharpton’s National Action Network, will take place from Boston to Los Angeles with vigils and non-violent demonstrations at federal buildings.
“It is important that we have a fair and impartial proceeding,” Sharpton said at a news conference at National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. “And it is clear that neither the family nor the community has confidence in the local prosecutor.”
He added: “We are prepared to continue to mobilize. We are calling for everyone to act in a strategic, disciplined, non-violent way, but do not allow either decision to feel like the case is over.”
Sharpton says demonstrators will make their voice known in a peaceful way.