“The behavior of the protesters suggests that we should push the curfew back,” D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said Wednesday during a news conference. “The largest group of protesters that we have seen to this point have been doing a little bit of self-policing.”
The mayor had instituted curfews for Monday and Tuesday, which began much earlier at 7 p.m. Thousands demonstrated peacefully on Tuesday night well past the curfew, passing lines of federal and local police with no confrontations or arrests. It was a notable change from Monday night, when the curfew was strictly enforced and protesters were surrounded and arrested.
Major cities from Minneapolis to Los Angeles have instituted curfews in recent days in the wake of mass demonstrations over the killing of Floyd.
The District’s curfew is in response to the demonstrations over the weekend that devolved into looting and destruction of property around downtown and in other parts of the city. District officials imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, but some demonstrators ignored it.
Whom does the curfew apply to?
The new curfew order applies to anyone in the District starting Wednesday at 11 p.m. through 6 a.m. Thursday.
The only exceptions are for essential workers — health-care workers, for example — labeled as such under the mayor’s public health response to the coronavirus outbreak. Members of the media are also exempt from the curfew.
“If you are not a member of the media or you do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody,” Newsham said Monday. “And that is a warning.”
The goal of the curfew is to reduce the number of people protesting late into the evening around the city.
What does the curfew bar?
The order states that nobody can walk, bike, run, loiter or drive in public spaces around the District while the curfew is in effect. The only exceptions are for essential workers, members of the media and residents voting in the primary election scheduled Tuesday.
“If you are out, then you are subject to be stopped and/or arrested,” Bowser said at a Monday afternoon news conference. “So, it’s very important that you stay home.”