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Providence Curfew: Mayor Elorza asks citizens to stay home

Providence mayor Jorge Elorza pictured here at a Bike to Work Day event in Burnside Park, May 15, 2015.

Mayor Jorge Elorza announced this afternoon he was instituting a curfew starting tonight at 9pm until 6am tomorrow morning. It will be effective for a week until June 9th and if it needs to be extended, Providence City Council will have to vote to extend it. The announcement comes the day after a series of mass overnight lootings in the city’s downtown district. He made the announcement today with Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Pare also present, as well as a local community member who protected the store Expressions last night. The venue for the presser was outside the same store.

The mayor and Commissioner Pare emphasized today that people in cars would not be stopped, but the focus was on clearing the streets and monitoring any activity similar to yesterday evening. The press, people traveling to work, first responders, the city’s homeless and people seeking medical treatment/supplies or fleeing dangerous circumstances are all exempt from the order. The mayor insisted it would make peaceful protesting that much safer. The city now has the legal authority to issue fines and disperse crowds if they break curfew, but Pare commented they would rather just ask. 

Neither Elorza nor Pare had anything to say on where the National Guard would be stationed in Providence. Such decisions they said were up to the National Guard unit itself. Providence police is available to send mutual aid to other cities and towns as needed and vice versa, as many other cities and MA did last night. 

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Cranston was the first town to issue a curfew effective at 8pm until 6am the following day. Cranston police are also expected to increase patrols tonight. Warwick as well has issued a curfew with the same 8pm to 6am hours. Garden City and Warwick Mall have been suggested as possible targets tonight by law enforcement, citing intelligence gathering and social media chatter. Both towns have similar exemptions to the curfew as Providence.

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