ST. LOUIS – A massive group of George Floyd protesters shut down streets and an interstate in the heart of Downtown St. Louis, Monday.
A crowd that started with 300-500 at a demonstration organized by the group, ExpectUs, appeared to grow to 1,000 or more as demonstrators marched to the Gateway Arch and then onto I-64/Hwy. 40 near the Poplar Street Bridge and exiting the interstate near the Enterprise Center. The crowd was loud but peaceful with no reports of violence, vandalism, or clashes with police as of early Monday evening.
“We’ve seen this before. We’re waiting for real change,” said one protester, a young African American man from St. Louis. “This is not the real change. Whenever we see that we’ll be impressed.”
Contrast that to Ferguson last night, where peaceful protests gave way to vandalism and violence after 9:00 on a stretch of South Florissant Road from the Ferguson Police Department to the Ferguson Brewing Company restaurant and bar a few blocks away. Two police officers were injured, one by a firework and another was hit by a rock, according to St. Louis County Police.
A vehicle was damaged by a Molotov cocktail and multiple businesses were damaged with windows shattered, police said.
It called to mind the historic demonstrations of 2014 after the Ferguson Police shooting of Mike Brown, with businesses like the Ferguson Brewing Company getting hit a second time.
Its owner told Fox 2/News 11 he supported the movement and the type of demonstration carried out Downtown, but he didn’t understand protesters repeatedly targeting businesses that have remained committed to Ferguson and the call for racial justice.
Police reported six arrests in Ferguson. There was no word on any charges filed as of early Monday night.