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Kenosha on edge: Hundreds of protesters march through troubled town after four nights of destruction

Kenosha was on edge on Thursday, as protests against the shooting of Jacob Blake entered their fifth night. 

Protesters broke the 7pm curfew once again to march through the streets, but it was comparitively calm compared to previous evenings. There was no repeat of the disturbances that wracked the town earlier in the week, and the militia were not out on the streets.

By 10:30pm local time the streets were quiet, Kenosha News reported. 

Sheriff David Beth said on Thursday afternoon he hoped that the worst of the violence was over.

‘Last night, it was very peaceful,’ he said. 

‘Tuesday night, not quite so peaceful, but it wasn’t too bad. Monday was our was our big night.

‘Hopefully we’re over that hump of what of what we have to face. 

‘We know there are still people out there instigators that are trying to cause trouble and fire things up. Got it. We’re going to do our best to deal with, with that too.’ 

The riots sparked from protests in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, on Sunday afternoon.

Blake, 29, who is black, was shot in the back seven times at close range by Officer Rusten Sheskey, 31, after a disturbance outside a property. Blake’s attorney said he was breaking up a fight between two women.

Blake remains in hospital, and is paralyzed from the waist down but expected to survive.

Sheskey has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.  

Protests on Sunday escalated into large-scale riots on Monday, when large swathes of the center of Kenosha, a lakeside town of 100,000, were smashed and burnt. 

On Tuesday night protests at Blake’s shooting descended into lethal violence in which two men, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, were shot dead. 

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Antioch, Illinois, accused of killing the protesters.  

On Thursday officials announced that the National Guard will send troops from three additional states – Arizona, Alabama and Michigan – to Kenosha to assist with operations there. 

Tony Evers, the governor of Wisconsin, had already authorized the deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha, and declared a state of emergency Tuesday and enforced an overnight curfew lasting until Sunday.  

In Washington, the Justice Department said it was sending in more than 200 federal agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

The White House said up to 2,000 National Guard troops would be made available.

The Justice Department also announced that the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI would conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Blake, in cooperation with Wisconsin state law enforcement agencies.

Groups that had taken to Kenosha’s streets with long guns were nowhere to be seen early Thursday following somber protests and no widespread unrest for the first night since the weekend police shooting of Blake.

Marchers were solemn during Wednesday night’s protests in the southeastern Wisconsin town, between Milwaukee and Chicago, following the chaos of the previous night.

On Thursday the solemn but determined tone continued. 

With the 7pm curfew passed, the group of protesters which had numbered in the hundreds earlier in the day thinned out to about 50 to 75 people, the Kenosha News reported, and set up shop back in Civic Center Park. 

They grilled food and established a relaxed atmosphere.

The protesters marched twice around the law enforcement compound, but no attempt was made to stop them or arrest anyone for breaking curfew, the paper said.

Protesters occasionally hollered at the officers. At one point, a protester got on the megaphone and chided one of the officers for allegedly laughing and ‘making fun of’ the protesters. He implored them to look in their hearts and understand the protests.

The demonstration ended around 10pm local time, the paper said.

Earlier on Thursday Rev. Jesse Jackson joined NAACP leaders in the town.

‘We must have the justice,’ Jackson said. 

‘Police are not above the law. We must protest until the three of them (police) have been indicted and convicted.’   

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