Police contain Baton Rouge protesters

BATON ROUGE —The elements were in place for a volatile evening, with more protesters, more officers and more heat. But Baton Rouge police, adopting an aggressive strategy of containment, successfully sequestered about 250 demonstrators to one corner and, by 12:30 a.m. Sunday, only a few protesters remained.

Although the turnout was double the size of Friday's crowd a more aggressive response by law enforcement kept protesters from blocking Airline Highway, which passes by police headquarters. Earlier Saturday afternoon, a showdown between officers and members of the New Black Panther Party resulted in "multiple arrests" late Saturday afternoon, a police spokesman said.

Tensions remained high five nights after Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police as he sold CD’s outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. Police say he had a gun, but family members say they don’t believe Sterling was armed. Even if he was, cell phone video capturing the shooting shows Sterling pinned to the ground, seemingly unable to reach for the weapon he allegedly had.

There were reportedly 34 arrests made in conjunction with Saturday’s protest. Well-known police reform activist DeRay McKesson was among those detained by police for charges not yet disclosed, according to The Washington Post.

On Friday, police adopted a more restrained approach, standing down before roughly 100 demonstrators, mostly young and unabashedly militant. Prior to that officers had arrested 30 protesters, mostly for blocking the road.

Micro protests broke out all over town prior to a peaceful rally early Saturday night outside the state Capitol, led by members of Baton Rouge’s civil rights establishment. The crowd dispersed around 7:30 central time, with many of the younger attendees saying they were headed to police headquarters.

But police began blocking Airline Highway around 9 p.m., limiting the turnout.

Follow @ReporterJCB on Twitter for the latest from Baton Rouge.

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