UPDATED at 11:15 p.m. with third officer injured.
ST. LOUIS • About 1,000 protesters surrounded the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson in the Central West End late Friday, breaking at least two windows and throwing red paint at the brick house before some 200 police in riot gear moved in to break it up.
There was no indication on the scene that Krewson was in the home at the time.
Two officers were injured by thrown bricks, police said. They were taken to a hospital, with one officer’s injuries described as “serious.” A third officer was hurt but declined treatment.
After the large group of protesters was able to march unimpeded to the home, gather on the lawn and knock on the door — a process that took some 30 minutes — the first police finally arrived and began pushing them back, firing canisters of tear gas. Journalists witnessed at least one arrest.
City police tweeted: “Tear gas was deployed because agitators became violent towards officers and destroyed property” in the area.
Amid that confrontation, some protesters were holed up at the Central Reform Congregation synagogue at Kingshighway and Waterman. It was near there that the officers were hit with bricks.
Multiple Central West End venues had windows shattered, including Evangeline’s bistro, Culpeppers grill and the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly Branch.
Earlier, police pepper-sprayed demonstrators Friday afternoon as they declared the ongoing protest at Tucker Boulevard and Clark Avenue downtown as “no longer peaceful”.
By early evening, protesters had dissipated from downtown and were gathering in the Central West End. They filled the streets there as they marched through the neighborhood, their number growing to what appeared to be more than a thousand. At one point, they tried to enter Forest Park but were stopped by police. By nightfall, protesters were marching south on Kingshighway toward Highway 40 (Interstate 64), some chanting: “If you kill our kids, we kill your economy!”
Southbound Kingshighway was closed from Lindell to the interstate, police said. A large number of police vehicles blocked on- and off-ramps there. The marchers eventually turned back north again after being denied access to the interstate.
Later, protesters in the Central West End were pulling down American flags that lined the streets on Euclid, and burned several of them. At least one of the flag burning incidents, on a knoll near the interstate, led to a heated argument between factions of protesters.
4 officers injured downtown
Earlier, four police officers sustained minor injuries downtown, mainly as a result of protesters throwing things at them, and more than a dozen protesters were arrested, acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said. He said one officer was treated for a hand injury, and three others declined medical treatment.
“It’s hardly been completely peaceful,” O’Toole said at an early evening news conference. His department later tweeted out photos showing rocks and water bottles that were thrown at police.
A joint statement from the protest groups ArchCity Defenders, St. Louis Action Council and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment criticized city officials’ response to the protests, saying they were demonizing protesters by “preemptively bemoaning violence and civil unrest, calling instead for peace.”
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