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Baltimore Wakes to Quiet Streets as Curfew Holds After Sporadic Clashes

Baltimore's streets were relatively quiet early Wednesday after the first night of a city-wide curfew.
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/ Source: NBC News

Baltimore's streets were relatively quiet early Wednesday morning after the first night of a city-wide curfew saw only limited resistance compared with the chaos of earlier this week.

More than 3,000 police and National Guardsmen had fanned out on Baltimore's streets to enforce the curfew — which began at 10 p.m. — overnight. The night was not without incident: Officers responded with pepper balls to a clash in the first hour between a "large group" of protesters, some of whom were throwing objects, according to the Baltimore Police.

A "group of criminals" also lit a fire outside a library and were "aggressive and disorderly" when officers advanced, police said. At another location, a smaller group of protesters lay in the street in a display of civil disobedience. But as the evening passed only small groups of civilians — mainly journalists — stayed out on the streets.

Although 10 arrests were made by midnight — two for looting, one for disorderly conduct, and seven for breaking the curfew — it stood in stark contrast to Monday, when at least 20 officers were injured and 235 people were arrested in looting, riots and arson attacks.

When the curfew lifted at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, the streets of "Charm City" were still. Public schools were scheduled to reopen on time after two days of closures due to the violence.

Baltimore Police Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he was "very pleased with the community, with the citizens, with the residents" on Tuesday night.

"The curfew is, in fact, working," he said just before midnight.

While the Baltimore Orioles planned to play Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox in the eerie silence of a closed Oriole Park, the team said Thursday's double-header would be open to the public.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday that she hoped the diminishing unrest, coupled with efforts to clean up the city, "can be our defining moment and not the darkest days that we saw yesterday."

The violence in Baltimore erupted following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died after suffering a spinal injury in police custody.

Philecia Tyrell, a social work student at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, told NBC News that images of violence didn't represent what was really happening in the city.

"The peaceful protests aren't being heard," Tyrell said. "I don't agree with the riots, but you're sending the wrong message when you only report something bad happens.

"This is a real issue," she said. "Although we don't like the riots, there is a reason for them, and the anger is real."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.