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North Carolina Capital Imposes Curfew Amid Protests

Police in riot gear protect the old state capitol building in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Allen G. Breed

Updated at 4:17 p.m. on 6/1/2020.

North Carolina’s capital city is enacting a curfew starting Monday night, after two nights of protests sparked by the latest killing of a black man by police led to street fires, store break-ins, and fireworks being thrown at officers.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin issued a statement saying the curfew will run each night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and will remain in place until she decides to rescind it. Except for medical emergencies and certain key professions, people must remain at home during those hours or face a misdemeanor charge and a fine.

“By setting a curfew, my hope is that this will allow our community to pause, collect ourselves, begin to repair the damage and turn our focus to the important work of finding connection and commonality,” Baldwin said in her release.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan also established a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. Fayetteville is also requiring residents to remain at home overnight, barring medical emergencies.

The National Guard was deployed in Raleigh, police there said in a tweetearly Monday. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, had said at a news conference Sunday that hundreds of Guardsmen were available Sunday night to cities that requested them, including Raleigh and Charlotte.

The curfew comes as protests in the city led Sunday night to direct confrontations with police, who released tear gas to disperse crowds. Protesters swarmed a Confederate monument, spraying it with graffiti.

Windows were smashed at several offices and businesses, and break-ins were reported at jewelry stores and other shops.

Demonstrators angry over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis confronted officers in riot gear at the old state capitol, then marched to the governor’s mansion and other parts of downtown. Officers in tight formation and wielding long clubs pushed the crowd along, firing tear gas and flash bang grenades to clear the streets.

“It just keeps going. There’s something new every single day. Every single day. Every single day. We haven’t got over the last murder, because there was probably one today," said Paris Harper of Goldsboro, who walked up and down a line of officers in riot gear. "And there’s going to be one tomorrow, and there’s going to be one the next day. It’s every single day. What is the right way? What is the right way to protest? What is the right way to get around this?”

As protesters dispersed, roving groups smashed windows and set fires in garbage cans and on sidewalks. They also defaced a large Confederate monument on the old state house grounds with obscenities and the initials of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The mayor signed a state of emergency Sunday afternoon to allow a curfew to be imposed, but said she “didn’t want to automatically jump” to imposing the curfew Sunday night, a day after more than 1,000 people marched in downtown Raleigh in protests that later turned violent.

In Fayetteville, where protests have also turned chaotic and fires were set, Mayor Mitch Colvin declared a state of emergency and implemented a curfew from 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.

In Charlotte, more than 15 demonstrators were arrested during protests Sunday night, the city’s police department said in a Twitter post. Charlotte police said four of the protesters were arrested for assaulting officers, including one person who was arrested for hitting an officer with a rock. Three others were arrested on illegal weapon charges, police said.

Producer Rebecca Martinez contributed to this report.

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