Tag: Antonio French

Ferguson Protests Prove Transformative for Many

The photo, and the reaction to it, crystallized Ferguson’s uprising this month in all its anger and strangeness: a demonstrator in an American flag shirt, holding a bag of chips in one hand while hurling a canister of tear gas back at police with the other, leaving an arabesque of smoke in his wake.

The image became so well-known that a man who said he was the demonstrator put details for booking requests on his Twitter profile. He got thousands of new Twitter followers.

Alderman Antonio French
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, left, has more than 100,000 new Twitter followers due to his documenting of events since the police shooting of Michael Brown. (Roberto Rodriguez / European Pressphoto)

It’s become apparent that anyone who has played a contributing role in this city’s unsteady vortex has been reshaped in it.  Along with fostering celebrity, events here have taken on a ritualistic quality, with protesters gathering night after night along a small stretch of West Florissant Avenue.  “During the day, it’s a spectacle. At night, it’s a war zone,” Wes Suber, a 26-year-old sociology student from Ferguson, said one night this week.

There’s no one guiding events — Ferguson has been like a barreling train without an engineer — and the difficulties in organization were apparent. On Tuesday, community leaders halted a protest march to hold a prayer and lead some chants; they told demonstrators to go home and rest up for a protest outside the county justice building in nearby Clayton the next morning.  But the crowd refused to go home. Instead, people milled around until there was another standoff with police.

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