Oakland Mayor Defends Curfew: ‘These Types of Demonstrations’ Endanger Public Health

On MSNBC on Monday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) defended imposing an 8:oo p.m. curfew on the city by stating that the looting on Sunday, which impacted minority neighborhoods where people had already been hurt by the coronavirus. She also stated that while protests on Monday had been peaceful up to that point, if people don’t disperse when the curfew time comes, they will be arrested. She argued that such an action is needed, and “these types of demonstrations are really endangering public health.”

Schaaf said that the protest on Friday, “was used as really a foil by people that were intent on doing damage and violence. But then last night was extremely different. We had groups all over our city, vandalism, looting, in, particularly, neighborhoods that are the most impacted by the coronavirus. Our neighborhoods in East Oakland and the Fruitvale where our African American and Latino communities live and depend on these businesses. They were hit last night.”

She added that “there are two different things going on and let us not conflate them. There is legitimate protest and anger and grief over yet another killing of a black man at the hands of police, and this is within the context of the larger travesty of racism in America. And there is a group that is taking advantage of this moment to commit illegal acts, to do damage, to steal, to cause chaos. And we believe that those are two very different groups of people.”

She concluded that the protests going on at the moment were a “beautiful, peaceful, family demonstration in solidarity with George Floyd and the quest for justice in our country. It’s going along beautifully. We are facilitating that peaceful demonstration, but when 8:00 comes tonight, we will be very clear that people must disperse. We will warn them. We will give them a safe way to exit an area. But if they do not, we will arrest them, and that is what we believe is necessary under these unprecedented conditions. And remember, you know, we were the very first region in the country to shut down our economy, to impose shelter-in-place, because of the coronavirus. So, our core small businesses are already suffering. We also believe that these types of demonstrations are really endangering public health.”

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