WILMINGTON — One week after enacting an open-ended curfew, the City of Wilmington has lifted nightly gathering restrictions imposed as a response to local protests.
Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Bill Saffo lifted the city’s protest-specific state of emergency (the Covid-19 state of emergency remains in place). The curfew was in effect daily between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. since June 2.
Wilmington is following New Hanover County’s lead in lifting the curfew; the county removed curfew requirements Monday in all unincorporated areas. The curfew was put in place days after an initially peaceful May 31 demonstration turned chaotic, with protestors and law enforcement clashing. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office used tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters after law enforcement observed individuals carrying firearms and protestors threw items at vehicles, according to Mayor Saffo.
Restrictions imposed in the curfew are no longer necessary to address “dangers face by our community,” according to the City’s June 9 declaration.
“Although recent events showed that some individuals were seeking to incite criminal and civil unrest, and their actions posed an imminent threat of severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property to the City of Wilmington, current criminal intelligence makes it reasonable to believe that there is no longer an imminent threat of widespread or severe damage or injury to persons or property or to the overall safety and welfare of our community,” the City’s updated declaration states.