St Louis: Police arrested at least two people today as nightly protests in the racially troubled US suburb of Ferguson over the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown shifted into the heart of St Louis.
Up to 50 youthful protesters gathered after sunset at the Midwestern city's historic 19th century court house, then marched through streets lined with bars packed with St Patrick's revelers before briefly halting traffic.
AFP reporters saw St Louis city police arrest two people -- one a masked male protester dressed in black, the other a news photographer, Philip Montgomery, on assignment for the website Mashable.
Protesters have vowed to sustain their movement in the wake of a federal Justice Department probe into Brown's death on August 9 that prompted sometimes violent demonstrations as well as a fierce debate about policing and race relations in America today.
Five Ferguson residents have taken a first step toward ousting the city's mayor, James Knowles, by delivering an affidavit yesterday to City Hall, the St Louis activist Organization for Black Struggle said on its Twitter feed.
Knowles, who met Saturday with about 20 small-business owners at a Ferguson soul food restaurant, has declared he intends to stay in office, implement reforms and restore harmony in the city of 21,000 that is two-thirds African-American.
"We cannot describe how disgusted we are with you. We now ask that you vacate the office," wrote the five residents, whose names were not disclosed.
Their affidavit went on to urge Ferguson's six-member city council to call a special election to find a new mayor.
For the recall effort to succeed, signatures of 15 percent of registered voters in the 2014 mayoral election -- in which Knowles won a second term by acclamation -- would need to be collected within 60 days.
Five officials in Ferguson, including its police chief, have already resigned in the wake of a scathing US Justice Department report last week that exposed racial bias in the city's overwhelmingly white police department.
It described how police targeted African Americans in order to impose fines and generate revenue for the city -- a practice that activists say is common in many American municipalities.
In a flurry of media interviews Friday, Knowles struck a defiant tone, saying he had no plans to resign at a time when civic leaders are trying to enact reforms and restore harmony to a divided and frustrated community.