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Baltimore ravaged by riots following funeral of Freddie Gray

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By Sarah Taylor  with Reuters
Baltimore ravaged by riots following funeral of Freddie Gray

Riots, which have torn up the US city of Baltimore, appear to be calming.

At least 27 people have been injured, including 15 police officers.

Violence erupted following the funeral of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 after being injured in police custody a week earlier.

The State of Maryland declared a state of emergency on Monday night as the violence spread from the west to the east of the city.

Businesses have been looted and buildings and cars torched.

“First of all, this is not a war,” said one man on the scene. “It’s not a war. We want peace. But you all got to give us that. And (if) you all keep coming and taking everything we got, we are going to take what you all got. We’re not playing out here. It’s not a war. But we want our rights.”

According to Reuters news agency, the riots are the most violent the US has seen against police treatment of African Americans since young black man Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri last year.

Gray’s family called for calm.

“And I’m as hurt, but I do not want you all to be out here,” said his mother, Gloria Darden. “I want you all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here. Don’t tear up the whole city, man, just for him. It’s wrong.”

Thousands of police and national guard troopers were ordered to help the local authorities. Larry Hogan, the state governor, pointed the blame away from local Maryland residents.

“We had a lot of outside agitators come in from around the country and we had some roving gangs and young people who were just out to cause problems. It’s totally separate, I think, from some of the people who were peacefully demonstrating the other day. It’s unfortunate,” he said.

Schools are temporarily closed and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has imposed a nightly curfew from 10pm to 5am.

A major league baseball (MLB) match, scheduled for Monday night (April 27) was cancelled. Baltimore Orioles saw their home game against Chicago White Sox postponed by the MLB less than an hour before the planned start time due to the street violence.