FERGUSON, Mo. — Business owners and residents boarded up windows and cleared away debris Wednesday as Ferguson sought a tentative return to normal after two nights of unrest over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

Protesters continued to hold scattered demonstrations, including a group that rushed into St. Louis City Hall screaming “Shame, shame.” Police locked down the building and called in more than a hundred extra officers. Three people were arrested.

About 200 demonstrators marched through downtown St. Louis and held a mock trial of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Brown, who was black, during an Aug. 9 struggle.

Meanwhile in Ferguson, many residents hoped that the relative calm of the daylight hours would last through the night and into the Thanksgiving holiday.

About a dozen people painted over boarded-up windows on businesses in the St. Louis suburb’s historic downtown, where National Guardsmen were stationed every few feet and some looked down from rooftops.

“This is my Ferguson, you know?” said Kari Hobbs, 28, as she watched 17-year-old Molly Rogers paint “Love Will Win” in bright pink on a board that covered a smashed window at Cathy’s Kitchen, a restaurant not far from the Ferguson Police Department.

The footage people see on the news “is such a small bit of what’s happening here,” Hobbs said. “There’s so much donation and charity going on with the businesses that have been affected and the people that have been affected.”

There were no empty seats inside Cathy’s Kitchen on Wednesday, and a line had formed at the back of the building. As a light snow fell, a diverse mix of residents, business people with the day off and journalists covering the protests enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving lunch.

Jerome Jenkins, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Cathy, said he never considered closing his doors.

“It really wasn’t about wondering if the building would get torched or not,” Jenkins said. “Me and my wife, we expected it to get damaged. … We decided to go home, and we would live with whatever fate would give us.”

He said it was protesters who helped spare his business during Monday night’s chaos, when a dozen commercial buildings were burned to the ground.

“The criminals, the looters, whatever you want to call them: They’re not protesters.

They wanted to vandalize the place,” Jenkins said. “And the protesters locked arms together, and they surrounded our place and … told them, `No, you’re not going to touch this place.’ ”

An influx of guardsmen helped make Tuesday night much calmer, although there still were 58 arrests and demonstrators in Ferguson set fire to a squad car and broke windows at City Hall.

Since the grand jury’s decision was announced, demonstrators have been active in other cities throughout the U.S. Most of the protests have been peaceful, with crowds rallying behind the refrain “hands up, don’t shoot.” But others have been less calm, including a demonstration in Oakland, California, in which protesters vandalized several businesses, and one in Minneapolis in which a car struck a protester and drove into others. In Portland, Oregon, police used pepper spray and made arrests after about 300 people disrupted bus and light-rail traffic.

Wilson broke his long public silence Tuesday, saying during an interview with ABC News that he has a clean conscience because “I know I did my job right.”

The 28-year-old officer, who had been on the Ferguson police force for less than three years before the shooting, said Brown’s shooting was the first time he had fired his gun on the job.

Asked whether the encounter would have unfolded the same way if Brown had been white, Wilson said yes.

Attorneys for the Brown family have vowed to push for federal charges against Wilson. The Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation. But federal investigations of police misconduct face a steep legal standard, requiring proof that an officer willfully violated a victim’s civil rights.

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