Washington (AFP)

Eighteen people were arrested early Saturday in St. Paul, Minnesota after blocking a major highway in angry protests after a police officer was acquitted over the shooting of a black motorist whose last moments were captured on video.

The Midwestern city was bracing for further protests after Friday's acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez, 29, of all charges he faced in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop in July.

Castile's death was part of a series of high-profile shootings of an African American by a police officer. Americans were stunned to see the video, livestreamed on Facebook, of his panicked girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, as blood spread on Castile's shirt.

Yanez fired repeatedly at Castile, testifying later he though the man was reaching for a gun. Reynolds said he was reaching for his wallet.

The verdict sparked outrage among many in the St. Paul area. An estimated 1,500 people marched through the city, then poured onto interstate highway I-94, shutting it down.

When some marchers ignored repeated police orders to disperse, state and local officers arrested 18 of them shortly after midnight, a state police spokesman said.

The Star Tribune newspaper said the arrested included two reporters for other Minnesota newspapers who were covering the march.

A police statement said the charges against the 18 included "being a pedestrian on the freeway."

Agence France-Presse

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