ST. LOUIS • About 1,000 protesters converged at the city jail on Tucker near Market Monday night to demonstrate against what they claim is the continued incarceration of about 50 protesters from Sunday.
That claim couldn't be immediately confirmed.
In response to the gathering, police blocked Tucker between Clark and Market, and were preventing protesters from walking onto Interstate 64.
By 9:30 p.m., organizers were declaring the protests over for the night and telling demonstrators to go home — the same thing organizers did on previous nights since Friday, only to see violence flare up later in the evening.
Earlier Monday, police said they made 123 arrests Sunday during protests that followed the acquittal of a former white police officer accused of murdering a black suspect.
That update came as police and business owners braced for what many feared would be a fourth straight night of violence.
Almost all of Sunday's arrests were for "failure to disperse." Among those facing that charge is St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk, who was arrested as police swept into the intersection of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard late Sunday. That sweep came after some of the protesters broke windows and toppled planters downtown.
"Many of the demonstrators were peaceful, however after dark, the agitators outnumbered the peaceful demonstrators and the unruly crowd became a mob," police said in a statement. It said multiple businesses also sustained property damage and one officer suffered a "serious injury."
Sunday's violence marked the third day that people took to the streets following Friday's acquittal of former St. Louis patrolman Jason Stockley in the fatal shooting of drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith.
On Monday about 100 people began the fourth day by marching in silence on Market Street in downtown St. Louis.
Police officers began blocking Market Street at 14th and 17th streets shortly before 8 a.m. The protesters stopped briefly at 14th Street and held their hands in the air. The crowd dispersed to allow an ambulance to attend to a man in need of medical attention, then resumed to the steps of City Hall where they broke silence and shouted familiar protest chants.
After stopping there, the group took its chants to the front of the Municipal Courts building before moving north on Tucker Boulevard.
Leading some demonstrators in chants was Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., D-St. Louis, who has participated in protests since St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson's not-guilty ruling Friday in Stockley's bench trial.
"It's not about peace," Franks said in an interview with reporters before the protest began. "Peace is not an option but we have to realize that there's a difference between peaceful and non-violence. Non-violence is an option. The point of an action is to disturb. The point of an action is to make folks uncomfortable."
Franks, who owns an insurance office on Cherokee Street, expressed sympathy for the businesses that sustained damage during protests.
"Of course I wouldn't want anybody damaging my property," he said. "You gotta understand that the reason why we're out here is for black lives. The reason we're out here is because we're dying, so when we stop dying, when we stop being affected disproportionately by the system, then we'll take a break. But until then we'll be here."
Fred Scott, 65, of St. Louis, a retired post office worker, was involved in 2014 protests in Ferguson and said he is protesting again for his four sons because it is his "civic duty."
"I'm tired of the fact that there's no justice," Scott said. "Evidence doesn't make any difference."
Scott said he doesn't support the violent protests that have erupted the past few evenings.
"They're not on the same agenda we are," he said.
The downtown protest dispersed shortly before 9 a.m. Monday.
At Kirkwood High School, some students staged a demonstration by walking into the football stadium Monday morning. Also Monday morning, about 250 University City High School students, clergy, police and activists gathered for speeches and poems outside the school. Some students were selling T-shirts to support University City businesses and others affected during weekend protests.
Stockley was acquitted Friday of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting 2011 death of Smith, 24, of St. Louis, following a police chase.
Since Friday's verdict, a daily pattern has emerged in which protesters during the day engage in organized, generally peaceful demonstrations which end before nightfall; followed by late-night violence, vandalism and clashes with police by what appear to be different groups of people than the ones who gathered during the day.
On Friday night, the clashes were in the Central West End, on Saturday they were in the Loop business district in University City and on Sunday they were downtown.
Protesters were expected to target the Loop again on Monday night. A crowd of a few hundred gathered on a parking lot there but then organizers called off that demonstration and told those gathered to regroup at the jail.
Loop business owner and developer Joe Edwards tweeted a message Monday afternoon calling for calm going into the evening.
"There are soooooo many independent merchants (minority-owned and women-owned) in The Loop ... people of all backgrounds, ages and economic strata work together here," he wrote. " ... Over the past 45 years, the wonderful Delmar Loop has overcome adversity by embracing diversity! We've had many peaceful marches through the decades and expect / hope tonight will be the same."
Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, said in an interview early Monday evening that the Stockley verdict created "a lot of disgust" in the black community, and that he was worried the controversy will undo any progress the area has made since the 2014 unrest in Ferguson.
"This area does not need the negative attention that we have been getting both regionally and nationally," he said, "and the city, the county and the state certainly can't afford the cost" of paying for the police overtime.
He added: "By no means do we support tearing down the very people we're trying to help, who are the ones who are losing pay and work hours by these businesses being shut down."
Ashley Jost, Kevin McDermott, Joe Holleman, Nassim Benchaabane and Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.