FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- The streets of Ferguson were peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions subsided in the St. Louis suburb where unrest erupted after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.<br />
Gov. Jay Nixon also ordered the Missouri National Guard, which arrived Monday, to withdraw after the flare-ups began to ease. Police have made only a handful of arrests in the protest area over the past two nights.<br />
"I feel we're making progress," Nixon told KMOX-AM, noting that a state of emergency remained in effect in Ferguson.<br />
About 100 people gathered Thursday evening, walking in laps near the spot where Michael Brown was shot on Aug. 9. Some were in organized groups, such as clergy members. Police said there had been seven arrests, mainly for failure to disperse. That compares with six on Wednesday night and 47 arrests the night before that - fueling hope that tensions were beginning to wane.<br />
Several protesters continued to call for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch to be removed from the case. Some question McCulloch's ability to be unbiased since his father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police. His father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.<br />
McCulloch reiterated Thursday that he has no intention of stepping aside, and urged Nixon to decide once and for all if he will act on the calls for his ouster. While Nixon said this week he is not asking McCulloch to recuse himself, a McCulloch aide, Ed Magee, said the governor `didn't take an actual position one way or the other."<br />
McCulloch said in a statement that Nixon must "end this distraction" or risk a delay in resolving the investigation.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
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