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City of Grand Rapids declares state of emergency after violent protests; enacts curfew

Anntaninna Biondo, Associated Press

Following a night of violent protests and civil unrest in downtown Grand Rapids, officials Sunday declared a state of civil emergency, and enacted a city-wide curfew for the next 48 hours.

The curfew comes after protestors started seven vehicle fires, three structure fires, several dumpster and trash fires with city officials reporting that over 100 businesses in the downtown corridor were impacted, some with broken windows and stolen merchandise. On Sunday, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss had a somber message to those who were to blame.

“What happened in our city last night is beyond heartbreaking and is unacceptable. Violence, chaos and destruction have no place in our city,” Bliss said. “This does not represent who we are.”

City Manager Mark Washington echoed Bliss’ statements.

““What happened last night was totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Washington said. “Our law enforcement officers will use every means of appropriate force to prevent another night of unrest.” 

The curfew is in effect 7 p.m. today through 5 a.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Monday through 5 a.m. Tuesday. It prevents community members from walking, running, loitering, standing or motoring upon any alley, street, highway, public property or vacant premises within the city of Grand Rapids. Residents can travel to and from work during the curfew.

Seven arrests have been made in connection to the protests. Washington praised city police for showing great restraint during the protest, and reported there were no major injuries to protestors or police officers, nor any loss of life.

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