Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson and others have claimed that much of the unrest after dark in Ferguson, Mo., is the work of external agitators. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French has been providing extensive coverage of the demonstrations and says a man came all the way from Chicago to incite a riot.
Among those arrested are residents of Chicago, Brooklyn, Washington, San Francisco, Austin, Des Moines, and Huntsville, Alabama, according to jail records.
“There is a dangerous dynamic in the night. It allows a small number of agitators to hide in the crowd and then attempt to create chaos,” Johnson said late Monday.
“Protesters are peaceful and respectful,” he said. “Protesters don’t clash with police. … It is criminals who throw Molotov cocktails and fire shots that endangers life and property.”
Johnson also acknowledged that locals can be part of the problem as well. “There are some outsiders, but there are (also) a lot of people who live here,” Johnson told CNN on Tuesday. “… So we can’t blame (everything) on outside agitators.”
Others have generated a colourful and at times carnival-type atmosphere. A man who called himself Django, after the Quentin Tarantino movie, trotted a horse down West Florissant Avenue. There have been Buddhist monks in orange robes, Muslims in purple tunics, evangelical Christians with megaphones quoting Deuteronomy, and Socialist Worker Party activists advocating capitalism’s overthrow.
Some, like a young white Californian who gave his name only as Sam, are drifters with no clear-cut agenda. “I’m an anarchist and I was in the region so I decided to come. What’s happening here is inspirational, people are resisting,” said Sam, who has slept out some nights.