(CBS NEWS) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that the citywide curfew has ended effective immediately, after there were only a handful of arrests and summons issued after a day of largely peaceful protests Saturday. The curfew was initially scheduled to end at 5 a.m. Monday, the same day when the city will begin reopening after the coronavirus shutdown.
“New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted. “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other.”
The curfew was put into effect Monday after a night of violence following protests. It originally started at 11 p.m. but was pushed earlier to 8 p.m. Tuesday. It included a ban on vehicular traffic in Manhattan below 96th Street.
The city also doubled its police presence to 8,000 cops “to help prevent violence and property damage.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not activate the National Guard like other governors with large cities in their states.
The curfew was controversial, with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams telling CBS News last week that he heard police yelling “mayor’s curfew” at the protesters. Williams marched along with protesters.
“I saw people who were simply in the street, non-violently protesting — matter of fact, most of them were singing as they went along 9th Avenue — and police started wailing on them, and I was shocked,” he said. “I was literally shocked to see people holding signs, backing up, being pounced upon.”
“Because we had each day a better and better situation, more and more peaceful protesters coming out, better situation overall each day, fewer arrests, I made the decision to end the curfew,” de Blasio said. “And honestly I hope it is the last time that we’ll ever need a curfew in New York City. So the curfew has ended. It is out of effect. It will not be coming back.”