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Protesters Arrested and Pepper Sprayed During Ferguson Demonstrations, as Michael Brown's Father Calls for Unity

While the number of individuals taken into custody has not been confirmed, the demonstrators reportedly blocked traffic and at one point were pepper sprayed by police.

by Kayla Ruble
Nov 21 2014, 5:40pm

For the second night in a row, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, were arrested outside police headquarters during late-night demonstrations on Thursday.

While the number of individuals taken into custody has not been confirmed, the demonstrators reportedly blocked traffic and at one point were pepper sprayed by police, St. Louis Today reported.

A video posted by Huffington Post Reporter Ryan J. Reilly shows police filming a line of protesters, dressed for the freezing temperatures, as they yell at a huddle of officers. Separate footage shows police carrying away a female protester who can be heard screaming about her wrists, seemingly in pain, as officers ask bystanders to "get back."

Ferguson's state of emergency proves America's social contract has been broken. Read more here.

Videos via Vine/ryanjreilly

In one short clip, an officer can be seen charging into the crowd, but it's unclear what triggered the reaction. A woman can be heard screaming in the background. In another video, an officer orders someone to "stop resisting" as he attempts to handcuff the individual who appears to be on the ground.

Videos via Vine/ryanjreilly

KKK Missouri chapter threatens Ferguson protesters with 'lethal force.' Read more here.

Thursday night's events follows the arrest of five demonstrators during night-time protests on Wednesday, also outside Ferguson Police Department headquarters.

This week's demonstrations come as the city of Ferguson braces for a grand jury decision expected any day now that will determine whether or not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the deadly shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August. Brown's death garnered national attention and sparked weeks of high-profile protests involving clashes with police in the St. Louis county suburb.

With many expecting the decision on Wilson's indictment to be delivered in the coming week, the Ferguson area has been on edge with the anticipation of demonstrations. On Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and outlined plans, which include bringing in National Guard troops as backup for local police in the event that the situation escalates.

News circulated on Friday that Wilson is reportedly in talks with officials to resign from his role at the police department, according to CNN. The negotiation process was said to be in its final stages. According to the report, the resignation could depend on the indictment decision.

Speaking up about the mounting uncertainty and tension surrounding the looming grand jury announcement, Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., issued a video message asking the St. Louis community to come together to push for change, saying "hurting others or destroying property is not the answer."

"My family and I are hurting, our whole region is hurting. I thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation," he said in the statement posted online by community activist group, STL Forward. "No matter what the grand jury decides, I don't want my son's death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change," said Brown.

Brown stressed that he wanted to see change emerge for the entire community, regardless of race, encouraging unity.

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's also called for peaceful protests in Ferguson during a video posted by US Department of Justice Friday. Holder said demonstrations like the ones in Missouri have a potential to inspire national dialogue and drive momentum for a "necessary conversation about crticial reform." He highlighted that peaceful protest has been a "hallmark of past movements."

"History has also shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence," Holder said.

Holder and Brown's messages come ahead of the grand jury session today, where they will be meeting for another round of deliberation in a process that has been ongoing for more than three months. If the grand jury comes to a decision during Friday's session, an announcement regarding the indictment could come within days.

Follow by Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB

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