In Ferguson, Missouri, tensions flared once again on Saturday over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
Multiple smoke canisters were fired to disperse protesters, still angry over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.
A state of emergency was declared in the town and an overnight curfew was impose after several local stores were looted.
Many shopkeepers took steps to protect their businesses by boarding up their shop windows while Missouri governor Jay Nixon defended his curfew decision.
“This is not to silence the people of Ferguson or this region or others, but to contain those who are drowning out the voice of the people with their actions. We will not allow a handful of looters to endanger the rest of this community,” said Nixon.
The shooter, officer Darren Wilson, has no previous disciplinary record and has been with the Ferguson Police Department for six years.
But Brown’s killing has mobilised the African-American community in the town, who have long complained of racial profiling.
Malik Shabazz, National President of Black Lawyers For Justice who led a protest on Saturday said:
“We are going to make sure that the message that officer Darren Wilson must be indicted and brought to justice right away.”
Figures from UCLA’s Center of Policing Equity suggest an overwhelming majority of stop and search incidents carried out by police in Ferguson targeted blacks.
Almost three quarters of African Americans in the US say they’ve been unfairly treated by police, according to the Pew research centre.