Friday 20 October 2017

Baltimore lifts curfew as troops leave city

Demonstrators rally at city hall in Baltimore, Maryland as. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Sunday lifted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew she had imposed on the city last week after a night of looting and arson that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in the police custoday (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)
Demonstrators rally at city hall in Baltimore, Maryland as. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Sunday lifted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew she had imposed on the city last week after a night of looting and arson that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in the police custoday (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Scott Malone

The mayor of Baltimore has lifted a night curfew imposed on the city last week after a spate of looting and arson that followed the funeral of a young black man who died from injuries suffered while in the police custody.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she believed sufficient calm had returned to allow her to end the 10pm-5am curfew, which went into effect last Tuesday after protests over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray turned violent on Monday.

"My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary," the mayor said. "I believe we have reached that point."

Speaking in front of a mall that was looted last Monday, the mayor also said the Maryland National Guard would begin withdrawing from the streets over the next week. As of Saturday, there were about 2,600 troops helping law enforcement officers patrol the city and enforce the curfew, the guard said.

The surprise announcement on Friday by the city's chief prosecutor that she was bringing criminal charges against the six police officers involved in Gray's arrest has helped to defuse outrage over his death.

The protests in the mostly black city of 625,000 have been a re-run of nationwide anger that erupted last year after the deaths of unarmed black men in confrontations with police in Missouri, New York and elsewhere.

"What we saw over the past few days is not just the resiliency of our city, but also our communities coming together," the mayor said.

Irish Independent

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