Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake lifts citywide curfew

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Residents attempted to restore a sense of normalcy in a city roiled by unrest in recent weeks, with the mayor on Sunday lifting the nightly curfew and re-assuring the public that the heightened law enforcement presence on the streets of Charm City will soon be scaled back.

The curfew that lasted five days has been rescinded “effective immediately,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tweeted Sunday morning, adding “My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary. I believe we have reached that point today.”

Rawlings-Blake marked the end of the curfew by appearing at the re-opening of Mondawmin Mall, which has been shuttered for days since being at the center of looting and vandalism earlier in the week.

“We will get better, and we’ll do it as one Baltimore,” the mayor later said in a press conference while acknowledging the recent peaceful demonstrations. “This is a great day for this community,” she said.

A clear turning point from protests marked by unrest turning into peaceful – even celebratory – demonstrations came Friday when six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest were charged Friday with crimes ranging from murder to assault.

Baltimore’s City Hall was filled with music and dancing Saturday as hundreds of community members and out-of-town supporters celebrated the charges brought against the six officers. The scene – much like a block party in the heart of Baltimore – stood in stark contrast to the fires, looting and violence seen earlier in the week. By nightfall, the scene turned into pockets of unrest, with handfuls of protesters arrested for resisting the 10 p.m. curfew. The police used pepper spray to subdue one man who would not leave the intersection of West North and Pennsylvania Avenues, and a small group of others began throwing rocks and bottles across the intersection toward police officer.

While breathing a collective sigh of relief that protests on the streets of Baltimore were largely peaceful, some residents were hopeful that the decision to lift the curfew was not premature.

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