Thursday 27 October 2016

Curfew lifted as calm returns to Baltimore

Baltimore's mayor lifted a citywide curfew, six days after riots sparked by Freddie Gray's death.

A jubilant crowd of several hundred prayed and sang civil-rights anthems at a rally.

The peaceful gathering came two days after the city's top prosecutor announced criminal charges against six officers involved in Gray's arrest.

His death came amid a national debate about the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

Speaker after speaker exhorted the crowd not to rest just because the officers have been charged.


The Rev. Jamal Bryant, a fiery leader of the protests that followed Gray's April 12 arrest and the death of the 25-year-old black man a week later, drew deafening cheers when he said the officers deserve jail time.

"We've got to see this all the way through, until all six officers trade in their blue uniform for an orange uniform," Bryant said.

"Let them know: Orange is the new black."

Police said Sunday that 486 people had been arrested since April 23, and that 113 officers had been injured at riots and protests.

The order for residents to stay home between 10pm and 5am had been in place since last Tuesday.

Protests since last Monday's riots have been peaceful, and Friday's announcement of charges eased tensions.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the curfew's end in a statement.

"My number one priority in instituting a curfew was to ensure the public peace, safety, health and welfare of Baltimore citizens," the Democratic mayor said.

"It was not an easy decision, but one I felt was necessary to help our city restore calm."

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