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Governor declares state of emergency, extends Richmond curfew after riots

Mayor: 'Curfew will be enforced'
Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020.
Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020.
Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020.
Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020.
Posted at 4:17 PM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 19:12:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in response to escalating violence in Richmond and across the Commonwealth.

The state of emergency allows for the mobilize resources, like the Virginia National Guard, as well as the pre-position people and equipment to help localities "de-escalate violent protests and protect public safety," according to state officials.

Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020.
Richmond riots Friday, March 29, 2020. (SOURCE: Alexandra Zernik)

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe," Northam said. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

Northam also granted Mayor Levar Stoney's request to extend the curfew he approved earlier Sunday for Richmond.

"It will be enforced," the mayor said during a 9 a.m. news briefing.

The city curfew is from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Sunday and extending through Wednesday.

"While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship," officials said.

Earlier Sunday, Northam called for Virginians to unite after two nights of destruction and unrest in the River City.

“I hear you. I know your pain is real," Northam said. "We have all seen too many people harassed, abused, and killed by law enforcement officers, in too many places, for too long—just for being black. I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence."

Northam also said the Virginia National Guard was alerted and will help "protecting our residents, businesses, especially small and black-owned businesses, and the capital city."

“As Governor of Virginia, I call on all Virginians to join together and build a renewed commitment to working for justice and fair treatment,” Northam said.