BALTIMORE (CN) – Only one brief skirmish between protesters spoiled the fairly peaceful mood of a demonstration Tuesday at the epicenter of the previous night’s riots.
With most of those gathered using brooms to brush away the ugliness of Monday night’s events, a group wearing black T-shirts with the emblem 300 Men March quickly resolved the altercation by forming a barrier between protesters and the crowd.
Police officers otherwise watching passively threw three pepper bombs during the short outbreak.
A day earlier Gov. Larry Hogan had declared a state of emergency after massive protest erupted over the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a critical spinal injury while in police custody.
At the intersection of West North and Philadelphia avenues on Tuesday, protesters blocked traffic while volunteers worked to clean out a burned out CVS, one of several businesses looted the night before.
Plastic garbage bags with their handiwork sat on the curbs alongside the streets covered with glass and debris the night before.
Onlookers were meditative on what had occurred Monday.
“When you destroy things in your community, like your stores and police vehicles, you have to pay for them,” said Sean Michael Wilson, an organizer with Lifting Communities Everywhere.
Wilson said he was at the protest to “support and encourage people to get registered to vote.”
“If the people in this community don’t vote then there is no one to represent their civil rights,” Wilson added.
Joe Thomas, the godson of former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry, said that what happened on Monday night can be directly tied to the inactivity of Baltimore’s City Council.
“We are in a neighborhood where there is poverty on one side of the street and abject poverty on the other,” Thomas said. “It is time for our elected officials to do what they said they would do for the young black men and women of this community.”
“The people who took part in the riots have been neglected and forgotten,” Thomas added. “They need jobs and food and health care. The politicians in this city have failed the people and they need to get down and get to work.”
All Baltimore City Schools were closed for the day along with many city services, including Baltimore City District and Circuit Courts. The Baltimore Orioles canceled today’s game and have rescheduled tomorrow’s game for the afternoon, but it will not be open to the public.
In addition to declaring a state of emergency, the governor called in more than 5,000 National Guardsmen to help maintain order in the city. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has called for a curfew to run from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
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