Ferguson mourners gather to bury teenager

Hundreds line up for final farewell of Michael Brown, whose shooting by police sparked weeks racially-charged unrest.

Last updated: 25 Aug 2014 16:58
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Michael Brown's family, politicians and activists gathered for the ceremony on Monday [AP]

The funeral of the black teenager who was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson is under way in calm atmosphere after weeks of unrest.

Mourners sang, clapped and danced on Monday at funeral services for Michael Brown, remembering him with words of goodwill and joy rather than the violence and outrage that followed his killing.

Brown's body lay at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in a black and gold casket, topped with the St Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was wearing when he was killed on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

As hundreds of people filed into the modern red-brick church on Dr Martin Luther King Drive in St Louis, Brown's coffin was surrounded by photos of him as a child, graduating from school and smiling in his Cardinals cap.

"There are no goodbyes for us, wherever you are you will always be in our hearts," read a sign accompanying one of the photos.

Appeal to calm

Brown's father made an appeal for calm on the eve of the services.

"All I want ... is peace while we lay our son to rest. Please, that's all I ask," said Michael Brown Sr, the father of the victim, on Sunday at a rally against police violence.

On Monday morning the city of Ferguson showed no signs of unrest. Children went back to schools for the first time since their classes got delayed from last week out of concern for student's safety.

Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Ferguson, said: "Tensions eased somewhat. We haven't seen the trouble that we have witnessed over the past couple of weeks."

However, authorities remained braced for a possible flare-up around the funeral with the state of emergency remaining in effect, although clashes between protesters and police had significantly decreased by midweek and the National Guard began a gradual withdrawal from the St Louis suburb on Friday.

For well over a week, authorities had arrested dozens nightly in clashes with demonstrators, drawing attention to often-troubled US race relations.

Police were criticised for mass arrests and use of heavy-handed tactics and military gear, which was widely seen as stoking an already volatile situation.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police, a senior administration official said on Saturday.


Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.