Missouri governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed an overnight curfew in Ferguson over the weekend.
The move is an attempt to quell disturbances that have shaken up the city since a Ferguson police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.
The unexpected announcement by Jay Nixon, made at a raucous press conference, marked another shift in law enforcement tactics which have veered from overtly militarised to inclusive and conciliatory in an effort to contain protests over last Saturday’s killing of Michael Brown, 18.
Nixon, a Democrat, said the latest measure were necessary after a small group of looters smashed windows, lobbed bottles and ransacked three stores on Friday night. The looters sabotaged not just property but the community’s peaceful protests, he said.
“We must have – and maintain – peace,” he said. “The eyes of the world are watching.” The curfew was scheduled to start at midnight and be lifted at 5am, local time.
As the curfew approached, hundreds of people gathered in the main street where clashes have taken place over the past week. Some drove through in cars with music blaring, and passengers sitting on the roof or hanging out of windows.
Police officers dressed in riot gear and armed with assault rifles started filing in more than two hours before midnight. They lined the street and guarded store fronts from potential looters.
Schools in Ferguson opened on Monday. At least one, Normandy High planned a moment of silence in hour of Brown.
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