As Amnesty International delegates head into their second week monitoring the tense situation in Ferguson, they’re learning first-hand what protesters on the ground have been dealing with since tensions flared after the shooting of an unarmed teen.
Last night, Twitter followers asked whether the Amnesty team encountered any problems as they tried to leave Ferguson on police orders. The team sent in this account:
Last night in Ferguson, after 11:00 pm CT, police were on loudspeaker announcing that anyone who was not credentialed media must leave the area. The Amnesty observer delegation decided to leave. They walked to leave the area, which required them to move toward police who were holding guns. The Amnesty observers put their hands up proactively as a sign that they did not hold weapons and were not a threat. A police officer stopped them and told the first three observers to kneel, which they did. The observers explained to an officer that they were human rights observers who were leaving as requested and they were granted passage.
A video of the encounter can be seen here:
The team continues to live-tweet their observations in Ferguson:
Police now arresting peaceful protesters for no apparent reason, state office building # ferguson pic.twitter.com/EiiLImfcNo
— Zeke Johnson (@ZekeJohnsonAi) August 18, 2014
Amnesty International remains deeply concerned about government infringement on the community’s right to peacefully protest the killing by police of Michael Brown. Our delegation will remain in Missouri until we have a clear picture of what is taking place on the ground, and we are able to work effectively with local activists on how to defend human rights at home.
Amnesty International USA is calling for:
- A prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown. Brown’s family must be kept informed throughout the investigation. Under international law, police officers suspected of having committed unlawful acts must be held to account through effective investigation, and where warranted, prosecuted.
- All police departments involved in policing the ongoing protests in Ferguson in response to Michael Brown’s death must act in accordance with international human rights standards. Any human rights abuses in connection with the policing of protests must be independently and impartially investigated, and those responsible held accountable.
- A thorough review of all trainings, policies and procedures with regards to the use of force and the policing of protests should be undertaken.
This is a moment for people around the country – and around the world – to join the Ferguson community in raising concerns about race and policing, and about the impact of militarization on our fundamental right to peacefully assemble.