Curfew Lifted as Baltimore Finds Calm
A curfew mandating that Baltimore residents stay inside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. has been lifted less than a week after it was instated on Tuesday. The emergency curfew, intended to last for seven days, was called by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake after the city erupted in riots following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who was in police custody at the time of his death.
“Effective immediately, I have rescinded my order instituting a citywide curfew,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Sunday morning, The Baltimore Sun reported. “My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary.” The Maryland National Guard is also expected to gradually withdraw from the city in the coming days, according to the Sun.
The curfew was largely opposed by protesters, community leaders, and business owners, who said it not only demonstrated city officials’ lack of trust in its citizens but was also bad for Baltimore’s economy. Bars and venues had to close at 10 p.m. Saturday night, which meant they could not show the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight, the most expensive in boxing history.
Others criticized the curfew for staying in place after State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday charges against six city police officers in Gray’s death. The charges, which many protesters saw as a major step toward justice, created a more peaceful attitude in the streets.
“My number one priority in instituting a curfew was to ensure the public peace, safety, health, and welfare of Baltimore citizens,” Rawlings-Blake said. “It was not an easy decision but one I felt was necessary to help our city restore calm.”
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