Cities struggle to quell violence while protecting rights of protesters; some set curfews, others lift them
While the leaders of numerous major American Cities have instituted curfews in hopes of preventing demonstrations from becoming violent, some are lifting the restrictions and others are standing opposed to enacting them in the first place.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Vi Lyles said curfews infringe on the rights of demonstrators to protest peacefully, according to The Charlotte Observer.
“I believe deeply that people should be allowed to protest,” Lyles said. “They should be able to protest within the law, and a curfew lifts that right.”
Numerous other cities, however, do not share Lyles’ sentiments. Minneapolis and St. Paul, the epicenter of the nationwide protest movement after the slaying of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin were among the first to enact city-wide curfews, according to Forbes. Others soon followed, including Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Richmond, Seattle, Birmingham and others.
Los Angeles leadership, however, has reversed course, LAist reports. After several days of mandating protestors disperse in the early evening, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the curfew would be lifted for Thursday. On Twitter, the mayor said, “we remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community.”
The decision comes on the heels of an announcement made by the American Civil Liberties Union that the organization would be filing suit on behalf of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and individual journalists, protesters and others against both the city and county of Los Angeles, the local NBC affiliate reports.
“The city and county of Los Angeles are attempting to use these curfews to suppress Black Lives Matter-L.A.’s right to protest,” Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-L.A., said in a statement. “They are attempting to suppress our ability to fully mobilize and focus full attention on the true issue of concern in the protests — police violence against black people.”