FERGUSON, MO (CNN) – Nine nights of unrest with no end in sight to the violence, tear gas and arrests. Peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson, who have failed to keep the peace, blame outsiders.
“We got back in between them and physically had to push them back.” St. Louis Alderman Antonio French mixed it up in the street Monday night with people he accuses of perpetuating the Ferguson conflict.
His widely-viewed videos on vine show local activists confronting others in the crowd.
French tweeted a photo accusing a “white guy on the left” from Chicago of trying to “incite a riot.” “Once we were able to calm it down enough and separate everybody else, the police were able to come in and get him out of there.”
However, a St. Louis County police list shows plenty of blame to go around: 77 arrested in Ferguson Monday night and only about 20 were from outside Missouri.
(With numbers like that is it fair to blame the problems on people from outside Missouri?) One protester responded, “No, it’s us; it’s us that are outraged. It’s St. Louis, Missouri, residents that are outraged.”
Local demonstrators say the numbers only tell part of the story. “Most of the people that were arrested, last night, were peaceful protesters. The majority of the people who were doing the looting and damaging of the different businesses weren’t from around this area.”
In the meantime, locals are counting their losses to neighborhood businesses and to their everyday routines. With schools closed, these teachers clean up the neighborhood with a message about what the conflict is costing the children.
“We’ll have free lunches being given to students in the community, we’ll be doing deliveries and then we’ll be giving free mental health counseling as well,” said Tiffany Anderson, Superintendent of the Jennings School District.
Call it frustration. Call it battle fatigue. There’s a growing move to place some kind of blame on someone as weary residents hope for a return to normal.