Baltimore braces for fresh large-scale protest

30 апреля 2015, 12:29

 National Guard troops patrolled the tense streets of Baltimore in large numbers in anticipation of a fresh large-scale protest Wednesday over the death of a young African-American man in police custody, AFP reports.

A citywide curfew that sprang into effect at 10:00 pm Tuesday (0200 GMT Wednesday) and lasted until 5:00 am was largely respected, although police made 35 arrests and warned that they were assessing the volatile situation minute-by-minute.

That included an anticipated demonstration in the early evening set to begin at the city's main train station, said Baltimore Police Captain Eric Kowalczyk.

"We anticipate that that will be a large group that will march. From what we understand right now, they will march through the city to City Hall. We are asking that they remain peaceful," he told reporters.

Looting and violence erupted in Baltimore after the funeral on Monday of Freddie Gray, 25, who died after suffering severe spinal injuries during a police arrest.

It was the latest instance in the United States of a black man dying at the hands of police -- a situation that has stirred resentment among African Americans who believe they are the victims of police brutality.

That anger sparked coast-to-coast demonstrations in major US cities after a white policeman shot dead an unarmed black teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in August.

Reflecting on a night that was tense but largely trouble-free, Kowalczyk said: "Last night the curfew went into effect at 10:00 pm. We have had 35 arrests. Of those 35 arrests, 34 were adults and one was a juvenile. We have a small protest right now."

He added: "It is reflective of what we saw yesterday with very peaceful activity and what we are used to seeing in the city of Baltimore."

However authorities, who will impose the night-time curfew for a week, were taking no chances and heavily armed National Guard personnel were out in force once again.

"We have resources staged throughout the city to be able to respond if there should be any incident," said Kowalczyk.

"Again, we're asking everyone to remain peaceful -- as we have seen over the last 24 hours -- and we will be watching that."

Police were keeping a keen eye on social media -- used by protesters to coordinate their action -- and "deployed into areas where we know students either congregate or are being dismissed from school," he added.

Amid the violence on Monday, the Baltimore Orioles postponed two Major League Baseball games against the Chicago White Sox and opted to bar fans from Wednesday's contest at Camden Yards.

The 8-2 victory for the home team was played before empty stands.

Among the many startling images to emerge from the riots in the city of 620,000 was that of an infuriated mother hitting her teenage son repeatedly for joining the demonstrations on Monday and dragging him away.

"I just lost it," said Toya Graham, a single mother of six.

"I was shocked, I was angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that," she added, speaking to CBS News.

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