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Nation of Islam, other groups call for demonstrators to leave Ferguson area before dark

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Tear gas fired as marchers moved toward police command post

Riot police await their next move while guarding a strip mall on West Florissant Avenue on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

FERGUSON • A representative of the Nation of Islam stood with other community organizers today in front of the police department and said they would be encouraging demonstrators to leave the area by sunset.

“We don't want a repeat of what happened last night,” said Akbar Muhammad, along with others, including representatives from the Universal African Peoples Organization and Black Lawyers for Justice at a press conference early this afternoon. 

The leaders also said they disagreed with Gov. Jay Nixon's calling in of the Missouri National Guard, saying they feared it would make the situation worse instead of curbing violence that has occurred since the death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Earlier, the group had asked demonstrators to abide the curfew imposed by police. Now, it's best if people leave by dark, leaders said. 

When asked what it would take to achieve peace and justice in Ferguson, Muhammad said locking up the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, is key. 

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Jessica Bock is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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