Violence after protesters defy Ferguson curfew

Sarasota - A group of protesters defied a five-hour curfew in the US town of Ferguson early on Sunday and violence flared briefly, a week after demonstrations erupted over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

Clashes between protesters and dozens of police officers in riot gear erupted less than an hour after the coming into effect of the curfew, imposed by Missouri State Governor Jay Nixon just hours earlier to restore order in the town.

The officers used tear gas and smoke grenades to quell the protest, with local broadcasters including CNN reporting that one man sustained severe injures and that seven protesters were taken into custody.

Police officials said the intervention by police officers had been sanctioned after shots were fired.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot one week ago by Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran. The police said the youth had been stopped for jaywalking, and that a scuffle ensued, resulting in gunfire. Witness have contradicted this version of events.

Governor Nixon also imposed a state of emergency in Ferguson - north-west of St Louis - where basic services have been disrupted since the incident triggered mass unrest.