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National Guard called in to keep the peace in Baltimore

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tours the city yesterday, in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, in Baltimore.

BALTIMORE (AP):

National Guardsmen fanned out across the city, police with riot shields blocked streets, and firefighters doused smoldering blazes yesterday after looting and arson erupted in Baltimore following the funeral of a black man who died in police custody.

It was the first time the National Guard was called in to quell unrest in Baltimore since 1968, when some of the same neighbourhoods were convulsed by violence after the assassination of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

The rioting started in West Baltimore on Monday afternoon, within a mile of where Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested and placed into a police van earlier this month, and by midnight had spread to East Baltimore and neighbourhoods close to downtown and near the baseball stadium.

At least 15 officers were hurt, including six who were hospitalised, police said. There were 144 vehicle fires, 15 structure fires and nearly 200 arrests, the mayor's office said.

The streets were calm yesterday morning. Residents came out to sweep up the broken glass and other debris. Firefighters could be seen spraying the burned-out shell of a large building.

"We're not going to leave the city unprotected," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vowed during a visit in the morning to a West Baltimore intersection that on Monday was littered with burning cars, a smashed police vehicle and broken glass.