Tuesday 23rd December, 18-year-old Antonio Martin was shot dead by Missouri police after pointing a handgun at a police officer. Police chiefs and politicians have stressed that the circumstances of the shooting of Antonio Martin are different from the August police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson just a few miles away.
However, this incident has sparked protests over the last couple of days. Last night on Christmas Eve protesters held a vigil at the gas station where Antonio Martin was shot, blocking traffic on Interstate 170 during a march before returning to the station. Today protestors are still holding vigil.
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Minutes before Christmas Day officially started, a few dozen activists stood outside the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri, with lit candles and posters in memory of Antonio Martin, a black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer Tuesday night in the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley.
“The intent is to gather people in honor of him and other people who have been slain by police,” Lydia Marie, 23, an intern for Amnesty International who coordinated the demonstration, told The Huffington Post. “This is another Christmas Eve a family is spending without their child who was lost to police violence.”
“As a black man, I’m trying to consistently deal with this, waking up and seeing slayings on the news,” said Michael Anthony, 29, a cinematographer from St. Louis. “Hopefully things like [this event] will spearhead overall connectivity, and by next summer we’ll be one unified movement.”
A few hours earlier, several hundred protesters in Berkeley had shut down an interstate highway. Nearby, gunshots were fired and at least two women were arrested after several people attempted to loot a beauty supply store, breaking its windows and doors. It was not immediately clear whether protesters or police officers had fired the shots. Dozens of police officers, some in riot gear and others holding clubs, patrolled the crowd, which also staged a “die-in.”
Outside the Mobil gas station where Martin was killed, his girlfriend Keanna Brown told HuffPost that he “didn’t deserve to die,” adding that she hasn’t slept since he was shot. “I should’ve been there to protect him. That’s all I wanted,” she said through tears. “He was so scared.”
Martin’s death occurred a few miles from where unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police Officer Darren Wilson in the town of Ferguson in August. Protests have rocked Ferguson’s streets since Brown’s killing, gaining momentum after a grand jury declined to indict Wilson for his murder in November.
St Louis County police and the city of Berkeley are currently investigating the shooting of Antonio Martin.