For the first time in many days, the city of Baltimore is able to breathe a little easier. The Baltimore city curfew has been lifted as protests subside. The National Guard is planning to exit the city in the next few hours. The mall where much of the protesting has been taking place, has been reopened for shopping, and things are beginning to return to business as usual. Many of the riots which were a part of the protests were fueled by rumors on social media that there was going to be a purge.
The mayor toured the mall late last night to ensure that everything looked as though it had returned to normal. Now that the Baltimore City protests had subsided it was time to lift the curfew. She also commented, that her decision to call off the curfew might be “too early or too late” she was certain that the national media would let her know. She also said that it had never been her intention to keep the curfew in place even a moment longer than was necessary and for that reason, it was time to lift the curfew.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reminded the people of Baltimore to keep in mind that it was going to take time for the National Guard to withdrawal from the city and for things to completely return to normal. The National Guard brought in over 4,000 troops and is scheduled to remove its presence from the city over the next 72 hours according to their statement. The events in Baltimore have led to the arrests of over 486 citizens, and the injuries of 113 police officers.
Baltimore is able to recover and find plans to move forward a day at a time and ease some of the tension which has built up over the past few weeks. The rioting and protesting were related to the death of Freddie Gray. Gray was taken into custody on April 12th after two police officers saw him and began chasing him. When the officers caught up with him he was taken into custody without a fight on his side, he was handcuffed and left face down on the ground. Gray asked for an inhaler and was denied an inhaler. Following his arrest, Gray was hospitalized and slipped into a coma and died.
The police officers who arrested Gray have been indicted but the process of justice will be a long one while investigations are carried out, according to the state. Blake continues to remind people to be slow and patient with the process as justice is served to the officers.
There are still no final numbers on the total amount of damage to the local businesses of the protests, as those numbers are still coming in according to sources. Baltimore has vowed to pull together and rebuild all of the businesses and local establishments which were destroyed. Many of the local residents are worried about jobs that have been lost to the destruction of the businesses as much as the physical property which still has no price tag.
The protests for Baltimore may still not be over as there is a lengthy trial still ahead and there are many unanswered questions. Baltimore is for the moment quiet, and the city’s curfew has been lifted as the protests have subsided.
By Melissa English
Photo Stephen Melkisethian Creativecommons Flickr License
Photo Maryland National Guard: Margret Taylor Creativecommons Flickr License