The Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers are behind the scenes directing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri according to Malik Zulu Shabazz, the head of Black Lawyers for Justice.
“As you well know, on Thursday night, my group — and thanks to you — my organizers, along with the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, we are the ones who put those men in the streets and we controlled the flow of traffic,” Shabazz said during a news conference on Saturday.
Ron Johnson, the captain of the Missouri Highway Patrol, agreed with the statement made by Shabazz.
Shabazz said the curfew enforced by the police represents a “prescription for confrontation.”
Violence erupted on Sunday night ahead of the curfew. Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police, looted stores and carried out a “coordinated attempt” to block roads and overrun the police’s command center, according to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who characterized the acts as “pre-planned.”
In response, Nixon ordered the National Guard into the area.
A video posted to Vine on Sunday night showed a man with the Nation of Islam directing protests. He instructed protesters to “fall back” and described the move as “the art of war.”
Also on Sunday, former NBA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said the violent protests in Ferguson are “not just about systemic racism” but “class warfare and how America’s poor are held back.”
“I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified — they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.”