REDWOOD CITY, California – A Filipino-American member of Amnesty International USA has been deployed to Ferguson, Missouri for days now, where unrest and large-scale protests continue in the wake of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“The situation here in Ferguson is very tense. The community has been under attack. The streets have a very tense environment," said Kalayaan Mendoza.
The unarmed Brown, who had no prior criminal record, was a suspect in a robbery allegedly committed just before he was shot reportedly six times by police officer Darren Wilson.
"What people are calling here for are justice and accountability for the shooting of Michael Brown, along with their fundamental human rights to peacefully assemble,” Mendoza said.
While protests have mushroomed all over the country, none of those demonstrations have been as volatile as the ones in Ferguson.
Since Brown’s shooting on August 9, dozens of protesters have been arrested every night for failure to disperse. Police officers have also been reportedly injured by thrown rock and bottles and at least two people have been shot.
The New York-based Mendoza said he witnessed the use of smoke bombs, sonic devices and tear gas by the police to disperse protesters.
A trained street medic, Mendoza said he, along with a nurse and local resident, helped a journalist who fell to the ground after the police reportedly tear-gassed a group of protesters.
“First and foremost, my duty is to support the community and anyone here at the protest. My safety comes secondary,” he said. With a report from Monette Rivera, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau.
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