Demonstrations are still going in Ferguson, Mo., but they remain calm as police nod at protesters and protesters in turn tell them to be safe.

Outside of the Ferguson Police Station, which has been a major protest site, about a dozen people lingered Thursday night, waving signs.

The atmosphere was more like a backyard barbecue as protesters got into heated debates one moment and burst into laughter the next.

“When an injustice occurs, are you just going to sit on the sidelines?” 23-year-old Steven Clark told Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery.  “I had to be out here,” he added.

Across town, a spirited but peaceful protest continued.

On Canfield Drive, the street where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, residents lined the median with a thick layer of roses that stretched more than a block.

On West Florissant Avenue, Tim Norman, owner of Sweetie Pies Kitchen in St. Louis, stood back and watched about 150 people march in circles. He has been leading the crowd night after night.

“There’s only an eighth of the people who were out here before,” he told Washington Post reporter Darryl Fears. “It’s very docile tonight.”

Norman said the community decided to stand down because of a perceptive change in police tactics. There were no rifles pointing at protesters, no tear gas, no police vehicles charging down the road.

However,  if Wilson is not brought to justice soon, some fear the protests could become tense once again.

“We’re about a peaceful protest,” said the Rev. Doug Hollis, his voice hoarse from helping Norman lead marchers on previous nights. But “we want justice.”

Missy Gunn, of St. Louis, said she shuddered to think what could happen if there is no punishment for Brown’s killing.

Gunn said she started marching after her 17-year-old son asked her if he, too, could be killed if he threw up his hands in surrender.

“This is bigger than St. Louis,” she said.