National Guard begins to withdraw from Ferguson

National Guard troops walk through a Ferguson street Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has said National Guard troops are no longer needed in Ferguson

The National Guard has begun withdrawing from Ferguson, Missouri, where the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman has sparked days of protests.

The troops were deployed on Monday when demonstrations became more violent.

On Thursday, Missouri governor Jay Nixon ordered their withdrawal when it appeared that tensions had eased.

Michael Brown, 18, was killed on 9 August after being stopped by a police officer for walking in the street.

Michael Brown Sr., talks with well-wishers at a makeshift memorial set up to honour his son, Michael, who was fatally shot by a white police officer 13 days ago in Ferguson Protests have quietened down in Ferguson after days of violent clashes with the police

Mr Nixon had called in the National Guard, a military force established by the state of Missouri, on Monday to support police operations, amid unrest driven by anger over Brown's death and the police response.

Monday night 'critical'

But Wednesday and Thursday were relatively calm with only a few arrests made.

Despite the easing of tension, some caution violence could flare up again when Mr Brown is buried on Monday.

"Monday night will be a critical night," St Louis based Bishop Edwin Bass told the Reuters news agency.

"The funeral could have a big impact on the mood of the community," he said.

A group of pastors, clergy and protesters stand outside the office building of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough on August 20, 2014 in Clayton, Missouri, demanding justice in the police shooting of Michael Brown. A group of religious leaders and protesters stand outside the St Louis County prosecutor's office calling for justice

The officer who killed Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, has been suspended with pay. Mr Brown's family and supporters have called for him to be prosecuted.

A grand jury panel of residents has begun hearing evidence in the case, though officials have not said when it will reach a decision.

Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson on Wednesday afternoon to talk to justice department officials leading a separate federal investigation into the killing.

US Attorney General Eric Holder (bottom L) attends a meeting at the US Attorney's office in St Louis, Missouri 20 August 2014 Mr Holder attended a meeting with the local US attorney and other Missouri leaders

Mr Holder, who is the first black US attorney general, said on Thursday that the "national outcry we have seen speaks to the mistrust and mutual suspicions that can take hold between law enforcement and certain communities".

"I wanted the people of Ferguson to know I personally understood that mistrust," he said. "This attorney general and this department of justice stands with the people of Ferguson."

He added that while he had gone to Ferguson to "provide reassurance, in fact they gave me hope".

More on This Story

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BeesSweet medicine

    Why are sick bees being prescribed honey? BBC Earth investigates

Programmes

  • The smartphone that answers backClick Watch

    Smartphones get smarter – the prototypes that talk and say ouch when you drop them

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.