United States: Baltimore protesters hold 'victory celebration'

May 10, 2015

Demonstrators gathered outside Baltimore City Hall on May 3 to celebrate the restoration of their right to protest without harsh controls in an all-too-rare case of a step towards justice in struggles against police brutality, TeleSUR English said the next day.

After a week of daily clashes with police, hundreds of arrests, and hostile media coverage of protests, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's decision to lift the citywide curfew and withdraw the National Guard on May 3 was viewed as a victory for those who took part in Baltimore's uprising.

The curfew had been imposed from 10pm to 5am and 5000 heavily-armed members of the National Guard had been sent to the city. The state of emergency declared by authorities was officially lifted by Rawlings-Blake on May 6.

Baltimore has been rocked by protests and riots in the aftermath of the death of African American man Freddie Gray in the back of a police van. He had been arrested after making eye contact with police officers.

On May 1, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers involved in Gray's arrest and death with multiple felonies, including murder and manslaughter. Mosby also said Gray had not committed a crime at the time of his arrest.

Outside City Hall, Baltimore pastor Reverend Jamal H Bryant, who led several marches was also arrested for protesting police brutality in Ferguson last year, was cheered when he said protests would not desist until the officers charged for Gray's death are behind bars.

Protesters who were arrested for defying the curfew have also been released, TeleSUR English said. The atmosphere was jubilant as attendees expressed “optimism and elation”, according to the Baltimore Sun. The crowd also expressed solidarity with Nepal by holding a moment of silence for the victims of the recent earthquake.

Marches have been held in several US cities, many of which have faced their own cases of police abuses, in solidarity with Baltimore by holding marches. A national day of action was held on May 1 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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