Update as of 1:15am EDT: The Wall Street Journal's White House correspondent Colleen Nelson tweets that President Obama has been briefed on the situation in Ferguson by adviser Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Update as of 12:54am EDT: Reporter Matt Sczesny of News 4 in St Louis tweets that police have made 10 arrests in Ferguson, and that no civilians have been injured.

Update as of 12:29am EDT: Unconfirmed reports suggest that Antonio French, the alderman of St Louis' 21st ward, who has been active in covering events in Ferguson on social media, has been arrested.

Update as of 12:02am EDT: Missouri governor Jay Nixon tweeted that he was "Canceling all appearances at the @MoStateFair to visit North #STL County tomorrow. Statement to follow."

Update as of 11:52pm EDT: The Huffington Post has released a statement on the arrest of Reilly and Lowery. Ryan Grim, The Huffington Post's Washington Bureau Chief writes: "Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted."

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Washington Post editor Martin Baron also released a statement on the arrests. He writes: "Wesley has briefed us on what occurred, and there was absolutely no justification for his arrest. He was illegally instructed to stop taking video of officers. Then he followed officers’ instructions to leave a McDonald’s — and after contradictory instructions on how to exit, he was slammed against a soda machine and then handcuffed. That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news. The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous."

Original story below

Heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, have been attempting to disperse a crowd protesting the killing by police of 18-year-old Mike Brown in the city last weekend, and reportedly arrested two journalists covering the protests. 

The journalists, the Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, both claimed to have been briefly arrested and then released without charge by law enforcement.

Reilly had earlier tweeted photos of a heavy police presence at the protests, saying that "I counted 70+ SWAT officers. Guns trained on the crowd. Insanity." Another Twitter user posted pictures of what she described as a "tank, repositioned to face protesters".

Reilly and Lowery said that they were in a nearby McDonalds when they were confronted by police. In a tweet, Reilly said “SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo.”

Lowery then tweeted that the pair had been “Detained, booked, given answers to no questions. Then just let out.”

He also claimed that one or both of them had been subject to an assault, saying that he had been "slammed into a soda fountain machine," and that officers had refused to give the pair their names. 

Lowery has since posted video of his arrest, which shows an officer in military-style clothing repeatedly telling the reporter "Let's go! Let's go!" 

An unverified recording of a telephone call between a Huffington Post reporter and a spokesperson for the Ferguson police has also been posted online; during the call, the officer refuses to give his last name, and then hangs up.

The policing of the protests has attracted widespread criticism on social media. A photo from the Associated Press that shows an officer pointing a high-powered rifle at protesters drew the ire of many users.

Another reporter on the ground at the protests tweeted that police had used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Andy Carvin tweeted: "Protesters, journalists all retreating as police advance down the street, firing tear gas and flash bangs."

MSNBC's Christopher Hayes tweeted that "all satellite trucks have been ordered out, so no way to get live images out for cable nets."

The Associated Press reports that violent confrontations have broken out between police and protesters, "with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd."

This is a developing story. Check back for further updates.