Baltimore riots: Looting, fires engulf city

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 - 15:39

Baltimore+riots%3A+Looting%2C+fires+engulf+city

Up to 5,000 law enforcement officials will be requested from the mid-Atlantic region to help quell the violence in Baltimore, Col. William Pallozzi of the Maryland State Police said at a press conference late Monday.

Chaos and violence erupted on the streets of Baltimore late Monday as protesters clashed with police, several of whom were injured.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. The mayor of Baltimore said every possible resource was being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”

“What we see tonight that is going on in our city is very disturbing,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters. “Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who — in a very senseless way — are trying to tear down what so many have fought for.”

She announced that the city will impose a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, effective for one week starting Tuesday. The mayor also promised to hold those responsible for the violence accountable.

More than two dozen people have already been arrested, according to Col. Darryl D. De Sousa with the Baltimore Police Department.

He said that 15 officers were injured. Two remain hospitalized, and the others have been released. Most were hurt by flying debris in the violence that De Sousa described as “unprecedented.”

Video showed police in riot gear taking cover behind an armored vehicle, as protesters pelted them with rocks.

At one point, it looked like officers used tear gas. The Baltimore Police Department said it had heard reports of protesters setting small items on fire, and footage showed a cruiser in flames. Video also showed people looting local stores, and an area CVS pharmacy was set on fire after it was ransacked. Thick dark smoke filled the streets.

There were no immediate reports of injuries among the rioters.

“It is so frustrating that people think that this makes sense — to destroy our community,” said Rawlings-Blake. “People who live there, that are already hurting, are going to be the ones that pay.”

Earlier in the day, the Baltimore Police Department said it had received a “credible threat” that gangs were teaming up to “take out” officers.

It did not say where the information came from, nor did it say whether the threat was tied to the recent death of Freddie Gray. Gray died in police custody under circumstances that remain unclear.

His death has sparked ongoing protests in Baltimore and raised long-simmering tensions between police and residents. (CNN)



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