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Rival rallies as peace returns to Ferguson

Rival rallies were set to take place in the United States over the weekend following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

FERGUSON, United States: Rival rallies were set to take place in the United States over the weekend following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

Authorities in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was killed on August 9, reported the most peaceful night in two weeks of racially charged demonstrations - some of them violent - over the 18-year-old's death. Police say Brown was the suspect in a robbery.

His funeral will take place on Monday (Aug 25) and is likely to be a focal point for more demonstrations by angry protesters demanding that Darren Wilson, the policeman who pulled the trigger, face justice.

There have been few signs of the protests spreading to other parts of the United States, but rallies were planned on Saturday in New York and Washington and there were also weekend "peace festivals" set for St Louis.

Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, was to address an event on Saturday.

Parallels have been drawn between Brown and Trayvon Martin, the unarmed African-American teenager shot and killed in Florida in 2012. But there has also been support for Wilson, who has gone underground since shooting Brown at least six times.

"Supporters, as you head out to the rally today, please remember to be respectful to the media & potential protesters. Keep the mission in mind. Avoid discussing topics that could jeopardize justice for Darren Wilson. Keep each other in check," the Support Darren Wilson Facebook page said.

One Facebook user said he was traveling 560 miles (800 kilometres) to be at the rally, which was to take place on both Saturday and Sunday in St Louis.

Ron Johnson, the Missouri Highway Patrol captain put in charge of security in Ferguson, said Friday night had seen a small but peaceful protest.

"We had to respond to fewer incidents tonight. There were no fires, no shootings and we did not seize a single handgun," he told CNN.

"Tuesday night, through 2:00 am, the number of arrests was 47. Wednesday night, the number of arrests was six. Last night, it was seven. And tonight, it is zero," Johnson added.

"Tonight's lack of conflict is further proof that good things are happening in Ferguson."

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