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Ferguson Protest Pictures In St Louis Show The Terrifying Militarisation Of The US Police

14/08/2014 14:53 BST | Updated 14/08/2014 15:59 BST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Police walk through a cloud of smoke as they clash with protesters Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with some people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Photographs of camouflaged officers training automatic weapons at unarmed civilians have highlighted the increasing militarisation of policing in America.

These images don't show Baghdad, they don't show Kiev or Damascus - these violent scenes are playing out on the streets of a sleepy US suburb.

Police filled the streets of Ferguson, St Louis, with tear gas, rubber bullets, heavily-armed SWAT teams and mine-resistant vehicles to repel protesting crowds Wednesday night, in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager.

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Jeremiah Parker, 4, stands in front of his mother, Shatara Parker, as they attend a peaceful protest

The Huffington Post US, who had reporters at the scene, has described how mostly peaceful protesters, many of whom were symbolically holding their hands in the air, were met with tear gas and smoke bombs fired so regularly that several reporters on scene said it was hard to breathe.

HuffPost reporter Ryan J Reilly and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery were detained and claim to have been assaulted by police, after officers surrounded and invaded a McDonalds where the two journalists were working and ordered them to leave.

"They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible," Reilly said.

The Huffington Post has released a statement saying that the treatment of our reporter shows that "police militarisation has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time."

Just hours before the violent scenes raged, the police chief in the town had said race relations were the top priority in the town, where a white police officer fatally shot the black teen Michael Brown.

Authorities have vowed to reach across the racial, economic and generational divide in a community in search of answers.

But based on the harrowing images below, that polite dialogue heard at community forums and news conferences is nowhere to be found on the streets of St Louis.

Missouri Unrest

A total of 10 people were arrested Wednesday night, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson defended his officers' actions Wednesday. "There are complaints about the response from some people, but to me, nobody got hurt seriously, and I'm happy about that," he said, according to ABC News.

Michael Brown was shot on Saturday after he and a friend were walking in the street and encountered a police officer. Brown's friend who was with him that night, Dorian Johnson, said that the officer attacked Brown, then shot at the 18-year-old as he was trying to get away. Ferguson Police claim that Brown attacked the officer, and said Wednesday that the officer involved in the altercation was injured. Multiple witnesses have said that they saw Brown with his hands up in the air when he was shot.