Police enforce curfew in Baltimore, disperse protesters

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Baltimore Simmers With Tension

(Reuters) - Thousands of police in riot gear and National Guard troops patrolled Baltimore to enforce a curfew on Tuesday night, dispersing protesters with pepper spray a day after the city was shaken by the worst rioting in the United States in years.

With helicopters overhead and armored vehicles on the ground, most people respected a curfew that started at 10 p.m. EDT and goes until 5 a.m. all week.

But a few hundred people defied authorities, gathering at an intersection that was the scene of heavy looting in the largely black city a night earlier. Police broke up the group using rubber bullets and projectiles with pepper spray chemical irritant, and arrested seven people. Three more were arrested elsewhere in the city.

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(5/1 update) Baltimore curfew - Freddie Gray riots
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Police enforce curfew in Baltimore, disperse protesters
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 30: Riot police advance on protesters and media during protests in the Sandtown neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 30: Members of the National Guard sit parked in a humvee in the Sandtown neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Community leaders join arms in an effort to clear a crowd from an intersection ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. The curfew was imposed after unrest in the city over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A message reading "I Love Baltimore" is written across a T-Shirt worn by Rashid Scott as he marches with protesters toward City Hall to demonstrate the police-custody death of Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A protester at left argues with a policeman as police line up in riot gear in the background after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. The curfew was imposed after unrest in the city over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Riot police monitor protesters near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Protesters argue near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Protesters argue near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Protestors gather Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. Maryland's governor vowed there would be no repeat of the looting, arson and vandalism that erupted Monday in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors defy curfew in front of police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors taunt police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts is illuminated by police lights as he surveys the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Police enforce a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10 p.m. near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A man sits on a bicycle in front of a line of police officers in riot gear ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protesters hang out front of riot police minutes before a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10 p.m. near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Police stand in formation as a curfew approaches, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors say the Lord's Prayer beside riot police the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
A protestor faces police enforcing a curfew Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. A line of police behind riot shields hurled smoke grenades and fired pepper balls at dozens of protesters to enforce a citywide curfew. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A protestor walks through a cloud of tear gas as police in riot gear advance on the crowd after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Riot police depart after forming a barricade and dispensing tear gas near the burned out CVS pharmacy the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
A woman runs for safety as police throw tear gas canisters while enforcing curfew, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters attempt to throw a tear gas canister back toward riot police after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A protestor holds a sign surrounded by smoke Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. A line of police behind riot shields hurled smoke grenades and fired pepper balls at dozens of protesters Tuesday night to enforce a citywide curfew, imposed after the worst outbreak of rioting in Baltimore since 1968. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Members of the National Guard pass through the area where Monday's riots occurred following the funeral for Freddie Gray, after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Montgomery County Police enforce curfew, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, right, D-Baltimore, embraces a protestor while urging the crowd to disperse ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors defy curfew and taunt police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
A man is arrested for violating the curfew Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. A line of police behind riot shields hurled smoke grenades and fired pepper balls at dozens of protesters to enforce a citywide curfew. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Members of the National Guard pass through the area where Monday's riots occurred following the funeral for Freddie Gray, after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A protester throws a tear gas canister back toward riot police after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A protester holds up a sign as police enforce a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10PM near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Police ride on an armored vehicle through the area where Monday's riots occurred following the funeral for Freddie Gray, after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A man asks the crowd to back up in front of a line of police officers in riot gear as part of a community effort to disperse the crowd ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Vietnam Veteran Robert Valentine, center, prays with crowd members as police stand in riot gear ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew in the wake of Monday's riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A woman runs for safety as police throw tear gas canisters while enforcing curfew, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Prince George's County Police enforce curfew, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A motorcycle group formed a line in front of the Baltimore riot police the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A woman yells at police near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A man hugs a friend after being prayed over during a protest near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Riot police stand watch over a tire shop during protests near the CVS pharmacy that was burned to the ground yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Baltimore erupted in violence on Monday hours after the funeral for a black man who died April 19 after he was injured in police custody a week earlier.

The death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray has renewed a national debate on law enforcement and race that was sparked by police killing unarmed black men last year in Ferguson, Missouri; New York City and elsewhere.

Just ahead of the curfew, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake went to the intersection where protesters had gathered and pleaded with them to go home.

"Let's take our babies home and abide by the curfew. I want to thank you for understanding that we want to bring peace," Rawlings-Blake said through a megaphone.

On Monday, shops were looted, 19 buildings were set on fire, 20 officers were injured and police arrested more than 250 people in the city just 40 miles (64 km) from the nation's capital in Washington.

More than 2,000 National Guard troops and 1,000 police from all over Maryland, as well as from New Jersey and the District of Columbia, were sent in to restore order.

Almost a quarter of the 620,000 people in Baltimore live below the poverty line and decayed, crime-ridden areas of the city inspired the gritty television police drama "The Wire."

CLEANUP

Baltimore saw scenes of reconciliation, cleanup and even celebration, as well as continued protest on Tuesday.

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Baltimore riot cleanup
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Police enforce curfew in Baltimore, disperse protesters
Victor Huntley-el greets Maryland state troopers standing guard near a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Jerald Miller helps clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Members of the community clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Residents clean streets as law enforcement officers stand guard, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Baltimore firefighters talk to community members cleaning up a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Members of the community clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Victor Huntley-el helps clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Maryland state troopers stand guard, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, as residents clean up after an evening of riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Maryland state troopers stand guard as residents clean up, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, after an evening of riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Jerald Miller helps clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Victor Huntley-el thanks law enforcement officers as they stand guard, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: (center) Kailah Johnson, 5, a pre-k student home from school with citywide closure, joined her mother in a neighborhood clean up crew the morning after citywide riots on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: People helping to clean up debris caused by rioting yesterday after the funeral of Freddie Gray are seen in the reflection of a partially destroyed window on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Groups of demonstrators marched and chanted "Black Lives Matter," one of the anthems of a national movement against police use of lethal force, which is used disproportionately against minorities.

Near a looted and burned-out CVS pharmacy, hundreds of people waved flags and swayed in the street as they watched 50 dancers gyrating to the drumming of a unity band put together for the evening from music groups from all over the city.

"It feels good to see everyone coming together. People just enjoying themselves," said Roxanne Gaither, 45. "This is what Freddie Gray would have wanted to see. Last night was terrible if a curfew is what it takes to avoid that, so be it."

In Chicago, about 500 people demonstrated outside police headquarters and marched in solidarity with the people of Baltimore, chanting "Stop Police Violence." At least one person was arrested, but the event was mostly peaceful.

For nearly a week after Gray died from a spinal injury, protests in Baltimore had been peaceful and Mayor Rawlings-Blake said she acted cautiously on Monday to avoid a heavy-handed response that would incite more violence.

Police in Ferguson, Missouri, were widely criticized last year for an aggressive, militarized response to demonstrations and rioting after a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager.

On Tuesday Baltimore's mayor responded to critics who said she waited too long to act.

"It's a very delicate balancing act, when we have to make sure that we're managing but not increasing and escalating the problem," said Rawlings-Blake, 45, an African-American and Democrat who grew up in the city.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he had called Rawlings-Blake repeatedly Monday but that she held off requesting the National Guard until three hours after looting started. He ended up declaring a state of emergency while she imposed the curfew.

'NO EXCUSE'

The security crisis disrupted the city's daily routines. Schools were closed on Tuesday, but were scheduled to reopen on Wednesday. In a rare move, the Major League Baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox will be played as scheduled Wednesday but closed to the public.

Gray was arrested on April 12 while running from officers. He was taken to the police station in a van, with no seat restraint and suffered a spinal injury.

Six officers have been suspended, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible civil rights violations.

"There's no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday," said President Barack Obama. "It is counterproductive."

Obama also said at a news conference the problems in places such as Baltimore were not new and need to be addressed by everyone.

"We can't just leave this to the police," Obama said, adding that, "We as a country have to do some soul searching. This is not new. It's been going on for decades."

(Additional reporting by Jim Bourg and Ian Simpson in Baltimore, Laila Kearney in New York, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Suzannah Gonzales and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Writing by Mary Milliken and Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool)

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