The Washington Post

Hacker collective Anonymous supports vigils following Ferguson riots

The international hacker collective Anonymous is calling on people to join a national moment of silence Thursday following another night of mayhem in Ferguson, Mo., where authorities said police were dodging flying bottles and protesters were running from tear gas and smoke bombs.

Protesters chanting “We ain’t leaving until we have justice” were met Wednesday night with riot police and SWAT teams in armored vehicles, the New York Times reported. At least 10 people were taken away in handcuffs, according to KSDK-TV, reportedly including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who was arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. Two reporters, Wesley Lowery from The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly from Huffington Post, said they were detained. And, hours later, Anonymous released a video describing the night’s riots and calling people to act:

‘The police began preemptively striking the protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs. We’ve seen journalists assaulted and arrested, targeted by tear gas and rubber bullets and told to turn off their cameras and move away or be subject to arrest. We witnessed as police threatened demonstrators to disperse and return to their homes then subsequently firing teargas in people’s own yards,’ a computerized voice announced over bagpipes. ‘Anonymous plans to assist with protests by leaving our keyboards and going on the ground with the people.’

In the video, a voice urged demonstrators in cities from Chicago to Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to “stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson” who are “currently fighting for their right to peacefully protest” after the police-involved shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Organizers had already been planning nationwide vigils using the hashtag #NMOS14, which was started by a New York-based blogger and activist who goes by the pseudonym @FeministaJones.

As the ongoing protest marked its fourth night, President Obama was briefed on the situation and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) released a statement calling the Ferguson violence “deeply troubling.”

The statement said:

The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans. While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.

I have been closely monitoring the situation and will continue to be in communication with local leaders, and I will be in north St. Louis County tomorrow. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring the pain of last weekend’s tragedy does not continue to be compounded by this ongoing crisis. Once again, I ask that members of the community demonstrate patience and calm while the investigation continues, and I urge law enforcement agencies to keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press during this difficult time.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Anonymous released the alleged police dispatch audio from moments following the shooting that killed Brown. In the audio, someone identified as a county police dispatcher indicated Ferguson police were unaware one of their officers had been involved. County police did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown, 18, was shot and killed by an officer who has not been identified.

Anthony Gray, Brown’s family attorney, told KSDK-TV that the teen’s body has been released to family members. The county medical examiner said he died of gunshot wounds, but authorities are not releasing further information until toxicology tests can be completed, the station reported Wednesday night. Brown’s family is reportedly planning to hire someone to complete a second autopsy.

This story has been updated.

Lindsey Bever is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. Tweet her: @lindseybever



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