Following a fourth day of protests, the city of Atlanta is under a third night of curfew, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending at sunrise. The curfew is intended to keep people off the streets after dark and prevent further damage to property. The weekend saw hundreds of people gather throughout Atlanta in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Several restaurants in downtown Atlanta and portions of Buckhead sustained damage during the protests on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“It is important to note that people who are traveling to and from work, or are engaged in work activities, are not subject to arrest,” a tweet by the Atlanta Police Department reads. This likely includes members of the press covering protest-related news overnight. However, it’s unclear if it includes restaurant and delivery workers.
MARTA plans to suspend rail and bus service at 9 p.m. tonight, and is asking people to board trains by 8:30 p.m. However, MARTA will continue with rail service outside of the city of Atlanta through 1 a.m. The Atlanta streetcar is also suspended for the night.
The curfew in the city of Atlanta has been extended starting tonight, June 1, 2020 at 9 P.M. and continuing through sunrise tomorrow June 2, 2020. Please stay home. pic.twitter.com/rjK8Aq6mKz— City of Atlanta, GA (@CityofAtlanta) June 1, 2020
Despite being forced to close early over the last three nights to allow employees to get home safely before curfew begins, some restaurants around Atlanta are expressing support for the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. This, as many Atlanta restaurants continue to face uncertain economic futures following a forced month-long shutdown due to the ongoing health crisis in America.
Atlanta is one of a number of U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Philadelphia, to issue nightly curfews with National Guard troops deployed to help deal with the civil unrest. Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Saturday allowing as many as 3,000 National Guard troops to deploy in order to assist local and state law enforcement in Atlanta during the protests.
A report by Vox.com on Sunday questions the effectiveness of curfews coupled with increased police presence to enforce them. “Some experts have raised concerns about the way curfews are likely to be enforced in communities of color and argue they could exacerbate the very dynamics that gave rise to the unrest in the first place: namely, that they will encourage confrontational policing at a time when people are demanding the opposite.”
Complicating matters, President Donald Trump is apparently considering invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807, which permits him to federalize the National Guard and other military forces by state request to suppress civil unrest, rebellion, or insurrection.
During a Monday evening address to the nation, the president said he plans to mobilize “thousands and thousands” of troops and National Guardsmen to “dominate the streets,” according to a report by the AJC.
“We are ending the riots and lawlessness that have spread throughout our country. We will end it now,” he said.
The act further allows the president to deploy troops to states which have not provided express consent for military presence.