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Ferguson: National Guard begins withdrawal

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The National Guard has begun withdrawing from Ferguson, Missouri, where the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson has sparked days of protests.

The National Guard troops were deployed in Ferguson on August 18 when demonstrations became more violent.

On August 21, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered their withdrawal when it appeared that tensions had eased.

Michael Brown, 18, was killed on 9 August after being stopped by a police officer for walking in the street.

Jay Nixon had called in the National Guard to support police operations, amid unrest driven by anger over Michael Brown’s death and the police response.

However, August 20 and 21 were relatively calm with only a few arrests made.

Despite the easing of tension, some caution violence could flare up again when Michael Brown is buried on August 25.

The National Guard troops were deployed in Ferguson when demonstrations became more violent over Michael Brown’s shooting

The National Guard troops were deployed in Ferguson when demonstrations became more violent over Michael Brown’s shooting

“Monday night will be a critical night,” St Louis based Bishop Edwin Bass told the Reuters news agency.

“The funeral could have a big impact on the mood of the community,” he said.

Officer Darren Wilson, has been suspended with pay and Michael Brown’s family and supporters have called for him to be prosecuted.

A grand jury panel of residents has begun hearing evidence in the case, though officials have not said when it will reach a decision.

Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson on August 20 to talk to justice department officials leading a separate federal investigation into the killing.

Eric Holder, who is the first black US attorney general, said on August 21 that the “national outcry we have seen speaks to the mistrust and mutual suspicions that can take hold between law enforcement and certain communities”.

“I wanted the people of Ferguson to know I personally understood that mistrust,” he said.

“This attorney general and this department of justice stand with the people of Ferguson.”

Eric Holder added that while he had gone to Ferguson to “provide reassurance, in fact they gave me hope”.

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