Non-violent protests flared up across St. Louis on Monday — faster than the public and police could keep up with — in a powerful demonstration of the ongoing momentum of a movement born in August in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, where the police killing of black teenager Mike Brown sparked anger and indignation that has resonated nationwide.
Protesters demanding justice for Brown unfurled banners saying "black lives matter" at City Hall and at the Rams football game at St. Louis' downtown stadium on Monday, demanding to see Mayor Francis Slay at City Hall and arguing with fans at the game. The demonstrators disrupted Columbus Day shopping at a suburban mall as well as a fundraiser for Sen. Claire McCaskill, a local politician.
Carrying signs that said "John Crawford is Mike Brown," they turned up at three different Walmart stores — managing to rally inside one, where they demonstrated in solidarity with Crawford, the black man killed by police inside a Ohio Walmart just three days before Brown.
After a large, rain-drenched rally there in the morning, demonstrators staked out the Ferguson police department for much of the evening and night, praying and chanting before a line of officers standing with shields and batons behind police tape.
They demanded "economic justice" at the officers of Emerson Electric, one of the largest employers in the region, stormed two casinos, and ended the night at a different police department, in the town of Richmond, where they waited for the release of a number of protesters arrested at an earlier action.
Meanwhile, throughout the night, the "occupation" of Saint Louis University campus continued, as students and protesters there set up tents and staged a "teach-in" educational forum.
Dozens of people were arrested across the city throughout the day, starting with civil rights activists Cornel West and Rev. OsagyefoSekou in the morning, and continuing into the evening with dozens more, including rapper Tef Poe.
The St. Louis County police department released a partial list of arrests made in the morning in front of the Ferguson police department — 49 people in the morning alone.
Crowds of protesters moved fast from one location to the other — giving little notice of their movements and splitting up in groups, driving police departments from all over the metropolitan area into a cat and mouse-like chase.
At every location they demanded the indictment of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, but also rallied in solidarity with other victims of police brutality — from Crawford to Vonderrit Myers, another 18-year-old black man killed by an off-duty officer in St. Louis last week.
"This is our third Walmart tonight, y'all," a protester shouted into a megaphone at the last of a series of protests in front of the store — as the crowd chanted slogans like "we shut shit down," and "we're young, we're strong, we're marching all night long."
The action was part of a planned day of civil disobedience — dubbed "moral Monday" in tribute to the tradition of the civil rights movement — and it marked the last day of the "Ferguson October" weekend of resistance, which saw hundreds of allies and social justice advocates from across the country flock to St. Louis in support of the Ferguson protests.
Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @AliceSperi