Northam issues state of emergency; Richmond extends curfew in response to protests


The United Daughters of the Confederacy headquarters Saturday night. (Photo courtesy WRIC)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam issued a statement on Sunday responding to the two days of protests throughout Richmond. Shortly after, he declared a state of emergency and extended the curfew for the city.

“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Northam. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”

In addition to the state of emergency, he also authorized assistance to localities in response to the escalating violence across the state allowing them to “mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist localities in their efforts to de-escalate violent protests and protect public safety.”

The governor also granted a request from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to extend the curfew in Richmond.

In Richmond, the curfew will run from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. beginning Sunday, May 31, through Wednesday, June 3.

In Virginia Beach, the curfew goes through 6 a.m. June 4.

RELATED: 26 arrests in Virginia Beach in second night of protests; no property damage or injuries reported

According to the statement released, “While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.”

RELATED: Gov. Northam approves of Richmond curfew and puts National Guard on alert

The two days of protesting began on Friday in response to the death of George Floyd, and lasted through Saturday night.

Photos show damage to storefronts, fires, and vandalism to the Jefferson Davis Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond.

“I acknowledge each of the voices crying out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth. I affirm the deep concerns from the black community,” said Northam.

“I hear you. I know your pain is real. We have all seen too many people harassed, abused, and killed by law enforcement officers, in too many places, for too long—just for being black. I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence.” 

“I spoke with Mayor Levar Stoney throughout the night; pursuant to the Mayor’s requests, I have authorized a curfew in Richmond and placed the Virginia National Guard on alert. They stand ready to assist in protecting our residents, businesses, especially small and black-owned businesses, and the capital city,” he continued.

In closing, he said: “As Governor of Virginia, I call on all Virginians to join together and build a renewed commitment to working for justice and fair treatment.”

RECAP: Two nights of protests and riots in Richmond

The full declaration of a state of emergency can be read here.

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