A weekend of events intended to mark two months since the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, took on added uneasiness Thursday in the wake of the fatal police shooting of another African-American teenager in nearby St. Louis. The events, which began with a vigil Thursday evening, were intended to peacefully but "forcefully proclaim that our lives matter," organizers said in an open letter to the community. "Ferguson is everywhere," a leader said on the organizers' website. "Enough is enough."
City officials and police say they are bracing for the possibility of rioting through the weekend. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that community policing will play a key part in repairing tensions between residents and law enforcement. "The events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot and we must not allow tensions which are present in so many neighborhoods across America to go unresolved," he said during a conference of mayors in Little Rock.
The protests come after a summer of arrests and nightly clashes with police over the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, 18. The Rev. Carlton Lee, senior pastor of The Flood Christian Church in Ferguson, led a prayer vigil Thursday night in front of the Ferguson police station. Among the 25 members at the vigil were Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., and some of his siblings.
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