Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Thursday that he had ordered the systematic withdrawal of the National Guard from Ferguson, just four days after the reserve force was called in to curb violence related to the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
“I greatly appreciate the men and women of the Missouri National Guard for successfully carrying out the specific, limited mission of protecting the Unified Command center so that law enforcement officers could focus on the important work of increasing communication within the community, restoring trust, and protecting the people and property of Ferguson,” Nixon said in a statement obtained by the Missouri Times. “As we continue to see improvement, I have ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin a systematic process of withdrawing from the City of Ferguson."
Nixon called in the National Guard on Monday after police officers in Ferguson faced a “coordinated, planned attack," according to Scott Holste, the governor’s press secretary. A group of protestors reportedly fired shots and threw Molotov cocktails at officers during a Sunday night protest.
Holste added that “the situation has greatly improved” due to the presence of the National Guard, “with fewer incidents of outside instigators interfering with peaceful protestors, and fewer acts of violence.” Local police will continue to monitor protests on the streets of Ferguson.
Police clad in riot gear have repeatedly used force, including tear gas and rubber bullets, to curtail protests. So far, dozens of individuals have been arrested, including nearly 80 on Monday and 43 on Tuesday, ABC News reports.