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Protesters met with hugs from police instead of tear gas tonight in Ferguson

The marches in Ferguson, Missouri, are carrying on with considerably less police resistance on Thursday than on Wednesday.

Ryan Reilly at the Huffington Post noted the stark differences:

Others noticed the low numbers of police out on Thursday:

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who's been placed in charge of security at Ferguson, even hugged and walked alongside protesters:

One protester took a selfie with St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson:

Protesters and reporters on the ground are praising the clear change in tone, brought on just a few hours after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced the Missouri Highway Patrol would be taking over security in Ferguson.

The better atmosphere doesn't fix the militarization of police or racial disparities in Ferguson and across the country, but, for protesters, being able to march in peace is being taken as a very good start.

To learn more about the protests in Ferguson, read Vox's full explainer, Vox's timeline, and watch the two-minute video below: