Schools reopen in Baltimore, streets quiet after curfew

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BALTIMORE — Schools reopened across the city and tensions seemed to ease Wednesday after Baltimore made it through the first night of its curfew without the widespread violence many had feared.

With 3,000 police and National Guardsmen trying to keep the peace and prevent a repeat of the looting and arson that erupted on Monday, the citywide, 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew ended with no reports of disturbances in the early morning hours.

Baltimore’s school system said all schools would be open and after-school sports and other activities would also take place. Monday’s riots began when high schools let out for the day and students clashed with police near a major bus transfer point.

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But life was unlikely to get completely back to normal anytime soon: The curfew was set to go back into effect at 10 p.m. And baseball officials — in what promised to be one of the weirdest spectacles in major-league history — announced that Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards would be closed to the public for safety reasons.

Activists stressed that they will continue to press for answers in the case of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man whose death from a spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances while in police custody set off the riots.

A group of pastors announced plans to hold a rally and prayer vigil for the city and Gray’s family at noon.

The curfew got off to a not-so-promising start Thursday night when about 200 protesters ignored warnings from police and pleas from pastors and other community activists to disperse. Some threw water bottles or lay down on the ground.

A line of officers behind riot shields hurled tear gas canisters and fired pepper balls at the crowd, which dispersed in a matter of minutes.

Just before midnight Tuesday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts declared the curfew a success.