ST. LOUIS — Police fired tear-gas canisters toward a crowd of protesters they said agitators threw objects including fireworks at them in Ferguson Sunday night. Two officers suffered minor injuries and six people were arrested, a spokesperson from the St. Louis County Police Department said.
Protesters remained outside the Ferguson police department on South Florissant Road after the city's 8 p.m. curfew Sunday night, and were mostly peaceful until around 9 p.m.
The St. Louis County Police Department said the protesters were given multiple orders to disperse at around that time. Police said agitators threw rocks at police and moved police barricades. Video from the scene showed a smoke device and fireworks being thrown in the direction of the police department.
A short time later, the police fired tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd, which they identified as a "confirmed unlawful assembly" at that point. Protesters ran from the tear gas, with many getting into cars and driving from the scene.
By 9:45 p.m. most of the crowd left the area, but police lined up on the street to block traffic outside the police building. People gathered in other spots, and other officers lined up near businesses damaged in protests late Saturday night.
Police said Sunday morning that two officers were treated at the scene for minor injuries. One had minor burns associated with a firework and another was hit with a rock.
As the night continued, protesters continued to move down South Florissant toward Ferguson Brewing Company, which had its windows smashed.
At 11:50 p.m., the St. Louis County Police Department tweeted a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a police car. Police said they again gave orders for the crowd to disperse.
The protests in the St. Louis area continued in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
The crowds began to build near the police department along South Florissant Road at around 6 p.m. After chanting rallying cries like "Black lives matter" and “What’s his name? George Floyd,” protesters began marching down South Florissant.
As the city's 8 p.m. curfew passed Sunday evening, protesters remained on and along South Florissant Road near the Ferguson police station, but the crowd remained peaceful.
At around 8:30 p.m. protesters knelt in front of a line of police officers on the Ferguson Police Department parking lot. The officers were wearing helmets and holding shields.
About a half an hour later, the fireworks were thrown toward the line of police officers.
Sunday's protests come a day after protests around the St. Louis area ended in Ferguson late Saturday and into Sunday.
Protests throughout the day remained mostly peaceful until around 10:30, when the mood shifted.
5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend witnessed people in the crowd throwing items. He said tear gas was deployed. At times, fireworks could be seen exploding around the Ferguson Police Department. More officers with riot gear arrived to help.
"We want to be heard. As a black community, we need to be heard," one woman at the scene said.
The protests left seven officers injured by rocks, bottles and fireworks, St. Louis County police said Sunday morning. Three of them were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while the other four were treated at the scene.
Ferguson Police Chief Jason Armstrong that the protests were mostly peaceful and even most of the officers were having positive conversations with protestors — including some children, before a smaller group of people turned violent injuring several officers — smashing windows and trying to set fire to businesses.
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Mayor James Knowles III declared a state of emergency for the city of Ferguson Sunday evening, including a curfew that will run from 8 Sunday night until 5:30 Monday morning, expanding hours for the city's second curfew in as many days.
Pulling from the city charter, the order states — in part — “all persons shall remove themselves to and remain in the places of their residence, remain off and away from public streets, sidewalks, parks and all other public or open places; and no person shall loiter or gather together in groups at any place for any purpose whatsoever."
At around 11:40 Saturday night, Knowles issued a midnight curfew for the city, which was ignored by many protesters.
Elsewhere in the St. Louis area Sunday, groups of protesters gathered in at the Madison County Courthouse and outside the Ferguson Police Department Sunday evening.
Crowds gathered in Edwardsville, Illinois, outside the Madison County Courthouse at around 4:30 p.m. and remained on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse for several. Many carried signs calling for the end to police violence.
The Edwardsville police department released a statement Sunday night saying, in part, "The men and women of our police department will continue to provide respectful, compassionate and professional service to the citizens and visitors of Edwardsville. We will always be there when our community needs us. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve."
The protests are in response to the killing of George Floyd Monday night. Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on video pressing his knee onto Floyd's neck for several minutes, was charged with third-degree murder Friday. The other three officers who were on the scene at the time have not been charged. All four were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department Wednesday.
Protest have erupted across the country and around the world.
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