Updated on August 10, 2015, at 4:33 p.m. ET
Police in St. Louis arrested more than 50 protesters who were demanding the dissolution of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri. Among those detained at rallies to commemorate a year since the death of Michael Brown were prominent members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Washington Post reported that Deray Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Kayla Reed and Cornel West were arrested Monday outside the St. Louis Justice Center. Some 150 activists had staged a sit-in at the location to mark the anniversary of Brown’s death, and some of them, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, climbed over barricades set up outside the building, “sat down, locked arms and began singing and chanting.” The newspaper adds:
When that protesters' move did not produce any arrests after about 20 minutes, the seated group rose and rushed toward the front door of the courthouse, and sat down again. Shortly after that, about 30 members of the St. Louis Police Department arrived on the scene and arrests began.
The arrests came after the St. Louis County executive issued a state of emergency following Sunday night’s unrest in which police shot and wounded a man who they say fired at them in Ferguson. The violence followed peaceful rallies to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was shot dead by a police officer.
“In light of last night’s violence and unrest in the City of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency, effective immediately,” County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.
He said the St. Louis County Police Department will take over the operation of police emergency management in Ferguson and surrounding areas.