Two reporters were arrested Wednesday as a large police SWAT team ordered peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri to leave the area, reported Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly.
Soon after the team of more than 70 officers came on the scene, they told protesters they needed to leave the area and that “this [was] not open for discussion,” Reilly tweeted. MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee tweeted that police told the crowd, “Go home, return to your vehicles. The protesters responded, “Mike can’t go home!”
“Your right to assembly is not being denied,” the police said later over a loudspeaker.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly were live-tweeting from the scene, but both went silent around 4:45 pm PDT, with their last updates saying a police SWAT team had come into the McDonald’s restaurant where they were working and asked for identification.
Ferguson has seen a wave of protests following the Saturday death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a still-unnamed Ferguson police officer. Most protests have been peaceful — although it has occasionally turned violent — while heavily-armed police officers have been a staple at the events, clad in military-style uniforms and equipment, and riding in a massive armoured vehicle called a Bearcat.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Local officials have been trying to ease tensions in Ferguson, a city of 21,000 that’s about two-thirds African American, promising a transparent and unbiased investigation into the death of Mr. Brown. Those efforts included a town-hall style meeting Tuesday night where Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and other city officials spoke.
“As long as violence stays down, our presence will stay down,” Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said in a press conference earlier today.
Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Here are some of the images and video being shared from the scene:
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