US activists start seven-day march for Michael Brown

ST LOUIS (US), Nov 30: Civil rights activists have embarked on a seven-day march to demand sweeping police reforms and denounce a US grand jury’s decision not to indict a white officer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is organising the 192-kilometre “Journey for Justice” from the St Louis suburb of Ferguson where Michael Brown was killed to Jefferson City, the Missouri state capital.

A core group of around 100 marchers, who hope to be joined by thousands more by the end, are demanding the sacking of the Ferguson police chief, nationwide police reforms and an end to racial profiling.

“We will fight until hell freezes over and then we will fight on the ice,” NAACP president Cornell William Brooks told an impassioned prayer service at Washington Metropolitan A M E Zion Church in St Louis.

The group then boarded buses set to take them to the spot in Ferguson, where Brown was killed, and from there around 10 miles of the journey yesterday.

“What we’re endeavoring to do here is seek justice for a grieving family as well as systemic, fundamental reform in terms of policing for an outraged community,” Brooks told reporters.

It is the latest in a series of protests that erupted across the United States after a grand jury on Monday decided not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for killing Brown in Ferguson on August 9.

The decision revived long-standing questions about how police, especially white officers, interact with African Americans – questions raised again after last week’s shooting in Cleveland of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

“When you have a 12-year-old child who is killed with a toy gun in his hand, there is something fundamentally wrong,” Brooks said.

“This is not something we can simply chalk up to a tragic exception. This is really a sign of something much more systemic,” he added. (AGENCIES)


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