ST. LOUIS — A brief, tense standoff between police and protesters at a rally was quickly defused, and protesters had another peaceful march Tuesday.
In the first organized march since the burial Monday of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, about three dozen protesters marched three blocks from St. Louis City Hall to the federal courthouse downtown.
Unlike previous protests in nearby Ferguson that were met by police armored vehicles and tear gas, Tuesday's march was flanked by police on bicycles and remained incident-free — a stark departure from the recent violent clashes beamed around the world.
"These are peaceful protests," said participant Jackie Masei, 46, of St. Louis. "People have been demonstrating, and they haven't been violent."
Organizers started the rally in front of City Hall, then led the group through downtown streets, chanting "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" — a recurring mantra of the protests since witnesses to the shooting said Brown had raised his hands in surrender.
They planned to march into the courthouse and deliver a list of demands to the U.S. Attorney's Office but were met by Homeland Security and St. Louis police officers, who barred their way.
A handful of organizers pushed through an initial line of police and threatened to push through more officers blocking access to the lobby doors. They threw up their hands and yelled, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" as they inched closer to the line of police.
A police official defused the standoff by allowing a few of them to enter at a time.
Organized by Hands Up United, a group formed after the Brown shooting, the rally was peaceful overall, continuing a trend the past week of less violent protests.
Missouri State Police Capt. Ron Johnson said protests around Ferguson have been increasingly peaceful, and West Florissant Avenue, site of the biggest clashes between police and protesters, was returning to normal.
Arrests, which numbered dozens nightly at the height of the protests, dropped to six on Saturday and none on Sunday and Monday, he said.
"This is the Ferguson that I know. This is the Ferguson that I love," Johnson said. "It's good to see it back."
As more time passes, the rallies become increasingly important, said protester Ellen Schaeffer, 43, of Webster Groves, Mo.
"People need to keep showing up, so this issue doesn't die down and disappear," she said.
Organizer Tef Poe promised more to come. "The fight is not over," he said. "The fire is still burning."
Another rally was scheduled for 6 p.m. CT Tuesday in Ferguson.