Update: Several demonstrations took place early Friday outside stores in the St. Louis area, Fox News reported. Protesters demonstrated outside Walmart and Target stores in Brentwood, two Walmart stores in St. Charles and one Walmart in Manchester, one of the protesters told The Associated Press.
Several police and National Guard vehicles were also reportedly stationed outside some Walmart stores to ensure there were no disruptions on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Following a quiet day Thursday in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrators again took to the streets early Friday morning, this time to target Black Friday sales at retail outlets in the area, reports said. The St. Louis suburb had seen violent protests since Monday night's announcement of a grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown.
A small protest erupted in Bridgeton, seven miles west of Ferguson, as people shouted “Black Friday! Shut it down!” outside a local Walmart store. Dozens of protesters shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" outside a Walmart store as shoppers went about looking for bargains, Reuters reported, adding more protests are planned for Friday. However, the Bridgeton protests lasted only a few minutes and no arrests were made, reports said, citing authorities.
On Thursday night, the streets of Ferguson were calm with no signs of violence. Instead, residents shared turkey and other holiday treats with members of the National Guard, who have been stationed in the town following days of violent protests since Monday night that left several buildings and businesses damaged. The residents also helped clean debris left behind on the streets, reports said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ate a Thanksgiving meal with the National Guard troops, the New York Times reported.
— Governor Jay Nixon (@GovJayNixon) November 27, 2014
Meanwhile, Brown’s family and activists around the world reportedly set aside empty chairs as part of a dinner-table memorial for the 18-year-old unarmed black teen who was killed by Wilson, a white police officer.
In New York, at least seven people were arrested after protesters stormed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as it wound its way through Manhattan, police reportedly said. The parade in St. Louis had to be cancelled fearing tensions in the region.
On Thursday night, a group of about 100 demonstrators enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner and discussed future strategy before heading over to a Walmart store, Reuters reported. "We are bruised but not broken," Cathy Daniels, a protester who had prepared the food, reportedly told Reuters. "We are regrouping. We are not going to take this lying down."
James Knowles, Ferguson’s mayor, said, according to the Times: “It’s very unfortunate because this festival is about the community coming together,” adding: “We light the Christmas tree. We’ve got kids making gingerbread houses. We’ve got music and carolers and horse carriage rides. There’s no reason to disrupt it.”