Curfew for Protesters in Charlotte Over Police Shooting Defied
Hundreds of demonstrators defied a midnight curfew in Charlotte, North Carolina in the eastern United States, marching peacefully in the early hours of Friday morning against the controversial police shooting of an African American man.
Authorities say they have no plans to enforce the curfew as long as the protests remain peaceful. Major Gerald Smith of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said, "The curfew is a tool that we will use to keep the peace. And right now we have a peaceful protest."
One woman told VOA she was "extraordinarily" worried about the curfew. "We're worried they (the police) are going to do something."
Television video, however, showed some protesters shaking hands with smiling National Guard personnel early Friday.
Thursday night, large crowds of demonstrators marched through the heart of Charlotte in the third night of protests. While generally peaceful, tear gas was used against demonstrators at one location.
Police in riot gear were dispersed throughout the city. The officers were armed with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Governor Pat McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, already has declared a state of emergency, and he said police would arrest lawbreakers. "We cannot tolerate any type of violence ... or destruction of property," McCrory said.
The crowd was a mix of races -- African-Americans, whites and Hispanic people, some of whom carried signs saying "Latinos say black lives matter."
Many clergy were present at the rallies, urging calm and peace for all present. But other protestors were seen arguing with preachers, claiming they didn't understand the pain Charlotte residents had suffered and that they could not be expected to stay calm.
Before protestors began marching around 8 p.m., volunteers handed out masks to protect from tear gas, as well as water bottles and granola bars.