By WECT Staff | June 2, 2020 at 1:36 PM EDT – Updated June 2 at 6:05 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A curfew is in effect for New Hanover County and Wilmington effective immediately, area leaders announced Tuesday.
The curfews were established after protests in downtown Wilmington Sunday and Monday nights.
“The City of Wilmington and Wilmington Police Department hold the upmost respect for peaceful protests and demonstrations,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. “They are part of who we are and how our democracy works. We uphold the first amendment and hold it dear to our hearts.
“There are those who are trying to hijack our rights. People who seem to be moving from place to place, inciting assaults and picking up rocks and bottles and throwing fireworks at police and basically violating the law. Other North Carolina towns have seen gunfire and buildings set on fire. That is not protesting, that is not healing. That is violence and breaking the law.
“The City of Wilmington will not tolerate violence and if you choose violence, we will shut you down.”
The curfew in Wilmington will run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“This is hopefully a simple and straight forward curfew,” City Attorney John Joye said. “What we are saying is between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. no person should be afoot in public and that includes streets and sidewalks, parks, places open the public or places of a public area of any nature during the curfew hours. The intent of this curfew is to clear the public areas of non-essential foot traffic. We’re not looking to shut down any legitimate and licensed businesses that are opened under the governor’s COVID-19 order.”
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman said there will be a curfew in the unincorporated parts of the county from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Groups of 10 or more are not allowed to assemble between these hours. The public can continue to go to businesses in the county that are allowed to be open under the governor’s order.
Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach town leaders announced that they will also have a curfew in accordance with the county’s declaration.
“Positive change can be found in peaceful, honest and open discussions,” Olson-Boseman said. “I urge you all to engage this dialogue. Let’s hold ourselves accountable for our words and our actions. Let’s be kind. Let’s move forward, unified, advocating for racial justice and equity for all.”
The curfews will remain in place until further notice.
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