Protests took place across the nation for the second consecutive night in wake of a grand jury declining to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on charges for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in an August shooting.

Demonstrations in Ferguson quieted down Tuesday night into early Wednesday evening. Guard units protected the Ferguson Police Department, leaving crowd control, arrests and use of tear gas to local officers. In one commercial area Wednesday morning, a soldier was stationed at every few storefronts, and some were on rooftops. In all, 45 people were arrested, most for failure to disperse. Outside police headquarters, one woman was taken into custody after protesters hurled what appeared to be smoke bombs, flares and frozen water bottles at a line of officers. Several other protesters were arrested after defying police instructions to get out of the street or out of the way of police vehicles.

In Oakland, Calif.,  protesters vandalized police cars, smashed windows at car dealerships, restaurants and convenience stores as well as setting fire to trash in the middle of city streets. A rally that drew thousands in Minneapolis took a turn when a car struck a protester and drove through a pack of others. And in Portland, Ore., police used pepper spray and made arrests after about 300 people disrupted bus and light rail traffic by walking across a Willamette River bridge.

The crowd also shut down two major freeways before police forced the crowds to disperse.

Protesters in Los Angeles crowded U.S. 101 freeway barricading lanes stopping traffic. Police cornered the protesters on an overpass, but one protester managed to toss a barricade off the overpass onto the freeway.

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Thousands of people marched in Manhattan gathering in Union Square and holding up traffic on FDR Drive, Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said police were giving protesters "breathing room."

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"As long as they remain nonviolent, and as long as they don't engage in issues that cause fear or create vandalism, we will work with them to allow them to demonstrate," he said.

A car struck a pedestrian early Tuesday afternoon at a rally. The car then continued to burst through the pack of demonstrators. The driver called the police immediately after the incident. The woman suffered minor injuries.

Several hundred people marched down a Cleveland freeway ramp to block rush-hour traffic while protesting the Missouri developments and Saturday's fatal shooting by an officer of 12-year-old Tamir Rice of Cleveland, who had a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm.

"The system wasn't made to protect us," said one of the protesters, 17-year-old Naesha Pierce. "To get justice, the people themselves have to be justice."

Riot police arrested several demonstrators in St. Louis on Interstate 44 near the Edward Jones Dome. Protesters disrupted traffic for several hours before they were dispersed by police with pepper spray.

Several hundred people from historically black schools Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University in Georgia held peaceful demonstrations. But as the night wore on, some groups split off and tried to block a freeway, and police said some windows were broken.

Police said 21 people were arrested, mostly for failure to disperse when asked, but one person faces a weapons charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.