State of Emergency Declared in Baltimore as Freddie Gray Protesters Clash with Police

News & Politics

Baltimore (AFP) - The governor of the US state of Maryland declared a state of emergency in Baltimore on Monday and activated National Guard troops after rioting erupted in the city.

Governor Larry Hogan made the order after crowds clashed with police, torched patrol cars and looted businesses following the funeral for Freddie Gray who died in police custody.

Baltimore's Major League Baseball team the Orioles cancelled Monday night's game against Chicago's White Sox amid rioting in the US city. The team announced the postponement on Twitter shortly before the game was due to begin, "after consultation with the Baltimore Police Department."

From the Guardian:

Ben Jacobs who is reporting from the corner of North Avenue and Fulton Street in Baltimore for has just sent this quick file:

At the corner of Fulton and North, liquor stores were being looted. Men, women and children were running off with bottles of spirits. Bottles were being thrown wildly at passing cars, with one man shoting “open bar” while double fisting bottles of liquor.

About half a dozen members of the Bloods, a gang in Baltimore, stood guard over a black-owned store.

One member of the Bloods compared city residents’ relations with the police to someone locked in jail cell with an inmate who continually beat them up.

“Eventually you’ll fight back,” he said.

There are reports on social media on a gang truce and gangs have been playing at least some role to preserve a semblance of order.

Paul Lewis writes for the Guardian:

The thing TV pictures never tell you is how surreal riots are. I just arrived on Monroe St and North Avenue to find a sound system with large speakers on the corner, a man stood on a yellow truck dancing to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean with a white glove on. There was a drunk man dancing the in he middle of the intersection pouring vodka in the street. The ground was scattered with debris and looted goods. Shortly after people sprinted past me - away from riot police - and the music changed to Aerosmith’s Come Together.

Further east - the intersection of North Mount St I think - a liquor store had been looted. Two men, one named James, told me how they had rescued the owners who were attacked by the looters. The two men told a disturbing story about how the owners had to be pulled out. Police arrived firing flash bangs, rubber bullets and bean bags. As we talked people walked casually past, still looting cases of beer.

I was filming the interview and someone came up to me advised me to leave, quickly. A woman in a scarf said I would be harmed unless I deleted the video from my phone. In the end she and a group of young guys let me go and all was fine. Needless to say it feels totally lawless right now. But also, frankly, dreamlike. I am in my parked car and I can still hear the sound system, four blocks away, belting out Jacko.

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