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Vigils In Ferguson And Nationwide Stay Calm, But Message Remains

  • Demonstrators hold candles and signs Thursday in Ferguson, Mo. Hundreds of people protesting the death of Michael Brown marched through the streets of Ferguson alongside state troopers on Thursday.
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    Demonstrators hold candles and signs Thursday in Ferguson, Mo. Hundreds of people protesting the death of Michael Brown marched through the streets of Ferguson alongside state troopers on Thursday.
    Jeff Roberson/AP
  • A crowd raises their arms while chanting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" during a protest for Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., in San Francisco.
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    A crowd raises their arms while chanting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" during a protest for Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., in San Francisco.
    Jeff Chiu/AP
  • Protestors hold signs in support of those in Ferguson, Mo., during a rally at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, in Washington.
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    Protestors hold signs in support of those in Ferguson, Mo., during a rally at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, in Washington.
    Alex Brandon/AP
  • A group of people hold up their hands during a nationwide moment of silence at a vigil in Orlando, Fla. Protestors in Ferguson, Mo., say that Michael Brown, the teen whose shooting death on Saturday is at the root of tensions there, was in a similar pose when killed by a police officer.
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    A group of people hold up their hands during a nationwide moment of silence at a vigil in Orlando, Fla. Protestors in Ferguson, Mo., say that Michael Brown, the teen whose shooting death on Saturday is at the root of tensions there, was in a similar pose when killed by a police officer.
    John Raoux/AP

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After four nights of tense clashes with police and several high-profile arrests, protests appeared to calm in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday night.

Earlier it was announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would take over policing of the St. Louis suburb, where protesters have clashed with local authorities since a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teen on Saturday.

NPR's Cheryl Corley, reporting for our Newscast unit, said that it was an entirely different atmosphere on the streets of Ferguson Thursday night compared to the past several days of protests.

"There's no riot gear, nobody with guns [or] rubber bullets," Corley says. "In fact we hardly see police around this evening."

She said the few officers who were around walked through the crowds and were even talking with people gathered.

Vigils that organizers say were arranged in support of those protesting in Ferguson and to honor "the innocent lives lost" were held in cities from Boston to San Francisco.

Reporting from New York City, NPR's Sam Sanders said a vigil group had made its way through Manhattan and at one point stopped traffic in Times Square.

Despite the calm in Ferguson, Corley says that the message among protesters remains the same, and that chants of "hands up, don't shoot" still were prevalent among the crowd.

"Those signs are still out here ... people are still concerned about police brutality," she says. "So that's a message that they still want people to know."

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