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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

(Reuters) — St. Louis County on Friday ended the state of emergency it had put in effect earlier this week for Ferguson, Missouri, and surrounding areas due to Sunday’s violent street protests.

Ferguson saw a fresh wave of demonstrations beginning last weekend, marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man shot by a white police officer last August.

The killing of Brown was found to be justified, but that incident and the deaths of other unarmed black and Hispanic men that followed in Baltimore, New York City, Washington state, and elsewhere inspired a national movement over policing and race relations.

Most of the protests in Ferguson were peaceful, but on Sunday night gunfire broke out and police shot and injured a black man, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, who they say shot at them. Harris, who remains hospitalized, has been charged with assault on law enforcement, armed criminal action, and shooting a firearm at a vehicle.

In the days since then, other protests have continued in and around Ferguson. Dozens of people were arrested on Monday when they blockaded a St. Louis court house in an act of civil disobedience, and when they briefly blocked a local freeway. There have been no more arrests since Wednesday.

“After reviewing the events of the past four evenings, under the state of emergency, I am pleased to report our law enforcement officers have established order while preventing further acts of violence in Ferguson,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.

The state of emergency had given Stenger control over policing in the area, taking over from local police.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin and Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Texas; Editing by Eric Beech and Susan Heavey)

Photo: Police hold a protester who was detained in Ferguson, Missouri, August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking