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Ferguson Give Thanks for Quiet Night   11/28 06:25

   Protesters in Ferguson pressed pause Thursday as the city welcomed 
Thanksgiving, decorating boarded-up storefronts with some Dr. Seuss inspiration 
and gathering for church services -- a stark contrast to previous days of 
outrage over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

   FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Protesters in Ferguson pressed pause Thursday as the 
city welcomed Thanksgiving, decorating boarded-up storefronts with some Dr. 
Seuss inspiration and gathering for church services --- a stark contrast to 
previous days of outrage over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

   No police officers or Missouri National Guard members stood sentry outside 
the Ferguson police station, which has been a nexus for protesters since Monday 
night's announcement that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, 
wouldn't be indicted for fatally shooting the unarmed black 18-year-old in 
August.

   On that downtown street, beneath a lighted "Season's Greetings" garland, 
three children used paintbrushes to decorate the plywood covering many 
storefront windows that was put up to foil potential vandals. One quoted from 
"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing is going to get better, it's not."

   "We thought we'd do what we could to make it a little more attractive and 
then try to bring the kids into it and get them involved in making the 
businesses appear a little less scary, depressing," said Leah Bailey, as her 
7-year-old son Dennis climbed a ladder to finish an orange dragon.

   Several hours after dark, a few people continued painting, but there was no 
visible protest activity. National Guard troops occasionally patrolled the area 
and surrounding neighborhoods in vehicles and on foot.

   Since the grand jury's decision, protests have taken place across the 
country. Most have been peaceful. But at least 130 demonstrators who refused to 
disperse during a Los Angeles protest were arrested Wednesday night, while 35 
people were detained in Oakland following a march that deteriorated into unrest 
and vandalism, according to police officials.

   Back in Ferguson, Greater St. Mark Family Church sits blocks from where 
several stores went up in flames after the grand jury announcement. A handful 
of people listened to the Rev. Tommie Pierson preach Thursday that the 
destruction and chaos was by "a small group of out-of-control people out there."

   "They don't represent the community, they don't represent the mood nor the 
feelings of the community," Pierson said. "I would imagine if you talked to 
them, they probably don't even live here. So, we don't want to be defined by 
what they did."

   In downtown St. Louis, a group gathered near Busch Stadium for what 
organizer Paul Byrd called a "pro-community" car rally meant to be peaceful and 
counter the recent Ferguson violence he suggested has tarnished the region's 
image.

   Byrd, a 45-year-old construction worker from Imperial, Missouri, declined to 
say whether he supported Wilson but noted, "I totally support police officers." 
The cruise was escorted by a city police vehicle; no protesters showed up.


(KA)


 
 
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