Raleigh mayor sets curfew in advance of planned protest
Posted August 27, 2020 3:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2020 7:33 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — On Friday and Saturday nights, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin will impose a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the entire city ahead of a protest planned for downtown Raleigh after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
"By setting a curfew, it is my hope that we can allow those assembled the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech in a peaceful way, without violence or destruction from opportunists who don’t share the goals of peaceful protesters," Baldwin said in a statement. "We want to create a safe space for all who want to come together while maintaining a sense of civility and accountability. Raleigh is our home, and downtown is the heart and the heartbeat of our community."
Several downtown businesses were already preparing for the protests Friday morning by boarding up their doors just in case protests become violent.
Protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody in Minnesota in May turned into riots, with people vandalizing and looting businesses downtown and setting several fires. Law enforcement responded by deploying tear gas and firing rubber bullets into crowds to disperse people.
Baldwin said at that time that she regretted not enacting a curfew until after two nights of rioting had already occurred.
"Issuing a curfew isn’t an easy decision," she said Thursday. "Together, we can call for justice and hear the voices of our community and maintain a safe environment for everyone involved."
"Essential employees," including law enforcement, first responders, health care workers, utility workers and package delivery services, are exempted from the curfew.