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Ferguson protesters demand ”meaningful reform”

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Washington: Several US protest leaders said that nationwide demonstrations against a grand jury decision to not indict a white police officer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager would continue to grow, as they did not see “meaningful reform” in many areas.
“We`re going to continue to take to the streets, we`re going to continue to disrupt the daily order…until something really really happens for the people in our communities, until we see some meaningful reform,” said Tuesday Phillip Agnew, co-founder of the activist group Dream Defenders, Xinhua reported.

Agnew was one of the protest leaders who met with President Barack Obama at the White House Monday, when Obama held a series of meetings with cabinet members, civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials to address the distrust between police and minorities.

Protests in Ferguson, a suburb in Missouri, flared up and spilled over to more than 170 US cities, after a county prosecutor announced the grand jury decision Nov 24 that Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer, would face no criminal charges for the Aug 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The protests have triggered a national debate over race relations and police power in the US. But Obama has adopted a cautious stance on the issue and has not visited Ferguson since protests broke out.

On Monday, Obama pledged a $263-million fund for law enforcement agencies. Out of the money, 75 million dollars would be used to purchase up to 50,000 body-worn cameras for police departments nationwide to record interactions with the public.

Obama said he would set up a task force to improve community policing and build trust between communities and law enforcement officials.

He also said he would consider tighter controls on the proliferation of military-style weapons and equipment provided to the police.

Protest leaders said the meeting with Obama was a sign that their demonstrations were making progress but they still needed to see notable progress in many areas.

IANS

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