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CLAYTON • A group of protesters marched on Thursday evening from the St. Louis County jail to the Ritz-Carlton hotel a few blocks away, where Gov. Eric Greitens was holding a $1,300-a-person fundraiser.

The group of several dozen gathered outside the hotel and repeated the call and response chant, "Come outside. We outside."

The governor did not come out of the hotel.

However, that didn't stop people from standing outside the hotel for about an hour calling for him to meet with them. A woman in the group took a moment to explain to police officers standing in front of the doors to the hotel why the crowd was there.

“We’re not out here because we have nothing else to do. We are not out here because we like to disrupt. We’re not out here just because we want to be in your faces...," said demonstrator Cori Bush. "We are out here because we have to save lives and we want to make sure you understand that we thought that that was your purpose, too. The problem is, some kind of way that has been lost in translation."

Bush and others applauded "good cops," officers they described as treating people fairly, but called for an end to what they see as unjust treatment.

"What we want you to do is acknowledge that black lives matter… because when we say black lives matter you say blue lives matter, but the problem with that is this: first of all, there are no blue lives. The only blue men I know are the ones in Vegas… this black don’t come off," Bush said of herself and other African American people. "So we can’t change for you. Your shirt comes off and you get to be regular just like us."

The protesters referred to claims they said Greitens used in his campaign that protests in Ferguson after the fatal shooting there of Michael Brown would have ended after two days had he been in office then.

The protest was part of a series that have been staged since the not guilty verdict on Sept. 15 in the case of former St. Louis Police officer Jason Stockley. He was tried on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.

Rev. Darryl Gray tried to encourage demonstrators by telling them, "you all are making a difference." 

"We don't know how long this is gonna take. But we not turning back," Gray said.

Among the demonstrators was Gwen Stewart, 71, who said she has been joining protests since she was in her 20s. 

"Somebody has to do it," she said. "It's becoming too often that these cops are getting away with murder."

She said she has three grandsons she fears for in a city where she believes police treat black youth brutally. 

Demonstrators plan to meet in Ferguson on Friday.


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