On Wednesday evening in Ferguson, Missouri, a number of protesters gathered outside the police station for a spirited demonstration. And, for the first time, in several nights, a boisterous gathering yielded some arrests.
As Reuters reported, five people were arrested as many in the St. Louis suburb await the grand jury decision relating to the August shooting death of Michael Brown. Earlier in the day, the Ferguson School District announced its plans to possibly close its 23 schools early depending on when the report is announced.
But the fallout from the decision, however it goes, will hardly be a local affair. In recent days, activists from have ramped up efforts to organize protests in cities and towns across the country and beyond. As Bloomberg reports, "The Ferguson National Response Network and Ferguson Action, a coalition of groups in the St. Louis area, list details of demonstrations in almost 90 cities in 34 states and Canada."
The events appear to be scattered not only geographically, but also in timing and thrust. Some of the planned demonstrations, like the ones in Meadville, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington, to choose two from many dozens, are slated to happen on the day of the announcement. Meanwhile, a number of others are set to take place one day after the announcement.
The chosen venues tell a story as well. The spread of the protests ranges from college campuses to public parks to the Dollar General Parking Lot in Longview, Texas, to churches and city halls.
As organizers prepare, so do city officials. In a statement, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans preemptively pleaded with students to demonstrate peacefully:
We are asking students to be mindful that there may be outside agitators trying to provoke and instigate otherwise peaceful protests. I ask that if public demonstrations occur as a result of the decision they are done with respect to our neighbors and businesses, responsibly and peacefully.
Elsewhere, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan wrote a letter in which she took the remarkable step of announcing where and when the city's protests would be taking place "to raise awareness about these events, not to alarm, and so that you may plan ahead."