New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has lifted a citywide 8 pm curfew that drew extensive criticism for intensifying tensions between protesters and police -- including numerous accounts of brutality against participants in demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd.
De Blasio announced the change in a Tweet Sunday morning, which stated: “New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city.”
“Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other,” de Blasio’s post also said.
The curfew, which initially was from 11 pm to 5 am but made earlier following looting, was originally poised to end Sunday night, in keeping with the city’s gradual reopening. Police largely eased up on enforcing this curfew Saturday, as protesters continued to congregate after the deadline to return home.
On 8 June, New York City is poised to enter “Phase One” of re-opening, which means that construction and manufacturing, as well as retail conducted on the curbside or though in-store drop-off and pick-up, will be permitted.
Floyd’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Houston, where he lived before relocating to the Minneapolis area.
In New York, a large crowd of protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, marching up a largely deserted Broadway. Thousands of others gathered in Harlem to march downtown, about 100 blocks, to the city’s Washington Square Park.
Police officers were present but in smaller numbers than earlier in the week. They generally assumed a less aggressive posture, wearing patrol uniforms rather than body armor and helmets.
In another sign of easing tension, Major General William Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard, told CNN that the nearly 4,000 additional Guard troops deployed to the city from 11 states at the Pentagon’s request were likely to be withdrawn after the weekend.