Cleanup efforts begin in Baltimore

By Aaliyah Turnage

Volunteers distributing food and beverages.

Volunteers distributing food and beverages.

More than 2,000 National Guardsmen and police officers from at least six other jurisdictions were in place Tuesday, April 28, as neighbors began cleanup in areas that had been stuck by rioting and destruction in Baltimore City.

“There’s no excuse for the violence we saw yesterday,” President Obama said on the unrest that caused Maryland’s governor to declare the state of emergency for the increased police presence.

“They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” said the president. “When they burn down a building they’re committing arson and they need to be treated as criminals.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings–Blake put in place a general curfew that requires adults and youth to be off the streets from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. She said the curfew would be in effect for a week.

The mayor participated in the citywide cleanup effect. “I’m at Bethel AME Church joining community leaders as they open doors to youth for comfort and an opportunity to clean up,” said Rawlings-Blake.

“We have a couple thousand new police and guards on the street right now,” said Gov. Larry Hogan.

Crowds gathered in front of a line of police wearing riot gear at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania avenues, but there was no confrontation or violence as there had been a day before.

At nearby North and Fulton avenues, resident Tiffany Robinson said she came to try to understand what might happen next.

“I don’t feel safer with all these police here,” said the 40 year old Baltimore native. “They’re agitating the situation more.”

On the other side of North Avenue near Baker Street, Wayne Jackson, 63, said he thought increased police presence was necessary.

“They have to bring the discipline back to the city.” He said of the teens that participated in the riots, “They don’t fear the police. They don’t fear nobody.”

City schools, several malls, shopping areas and courts and government office buildings were closed in the wake of the violence.

Morgan State University President David Wilson said there has been no damage to any of the school’s property but he has called his crisis management team, “to begin the development of a plan to keep the campus secure as the city works its way through this challenging period.”

Officials said more than 200 people were arrested and 20 officers were injured in Monday’s unrest.

 

Photo Credit: Aaliyah Turnage and Nathaniel Collins

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