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Under guard, Baltimore cleans up and looks ahead

Under guard, Baltimore cleans up and looks ahead

Tensions remained high in Baltimore Tuesday as crowds again clashed with police, who patrolled city streets with National Guard soldiers to maintain order and enforce a citywide curfew.

At least one officer was injured in South Baltimore where a crowd threw rocks and bricks, according to police. A large crowd also gathered in West Baltimore, where people sang and danced in a festival-like atmosphere interrupted a few times by skirmishes that prompted police to deploy pepper spray.

Some remained on city streets as police arrested those who violated the 10 p.m. curfew instituted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake following widespread riots and looting on Monday.

Other precautions were taken to reduce crowds downtown through the week. The Orioles will play the White Sox Wednesday in an empty Camden Yards as the public was banned from attending for the first time in baseball history. The long-standing FlowerMart fair in Mount Vernon, scheduled for this weekend, was postponed.

Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan, who moved his office and Cabinet to the city Tuesday after declaring a state of emergency, toured neighborhoods damaged in the riots and coordinated a massive law enforcement response.

"You can't ensure that there's not going to be any unrest. I'm not a magician," Hogan said. "What I can assure you is that we will put all the resources that we have at our disposal to make sure that disturbances don't get out of hand."

As many as 1,700 soldiers and airmen were activated, more than 400 state troopers and allied officers from surrounding counties were deployed, and troopers were called from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Amid the chaos on Monday, 15 police officers were injured. Area hospitals reported at least 33 people were hurt Monday night.

About 235 people were arrested Monday, including 34 juveniles. In addition, police said, 144 vehicle fires and 15 structural fires were set.

Extra fire and EMS units from neighboring counties also were brought to the city, and arson investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Office of the State Fire Marshal began combing through the rubble of burned buildings.

Baltimore has drawn international attention since the April 12 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered spinal cord and other injuries in police custody. His funeral took place Monday hours before rioting broke out.

Violence also marred mostly peaceful demonstrations against police brutality on Saturday. Organizers of that event are planning another mass protest this Saturday.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama called rioters "criminals" and "thugs" even as he argued that broader social change was needed to address underlying tensions in the African American community.

"If we are serious about solving this problem, then we're going to need to not only help the police, we're going to have to think about what we can do — the rest of us," Obama said during a Rose Garden press conference.

"That's hard," he said.

Newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch also dispatched aides to meet with the families of Gray and the officers who were most seriously injured in the unrest Monday.

Meanwhile, City Council members joined gang members to call for peace, and dance troupes entertained crowds in front of City Hall.

Rawlings-Blake urged people to share positive images of Baltimore on social media under the hashtag #thisisbaltimore. Unlike Obama, she backed away from her claim that it was "thugs" who had caused problems in the city the day prior.

"We don't have thugs in Baltimore," the mayor said. "We have a lot of kids that are acting out, a lot of people in our community who are acting out, and the bad part of it is, we all know that on the other side of this they are going to regret what they've done."

Earlier, the Rev. Frank Reid III of Bethel AME Church, said "there are no thugs in Baltimore."

"There are abused children, who are being abused by the cutbacks in education, cutbacks in housing. Abused people become abusers."

Across the city, residents and business owners worked to clear debris from streets, sidewalks and looted stores. More than 2,000 volunteers with the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives participated in cleanups.

Hogan said he "saw neighbors working together to restore normalcy to their neighborhoods."

Rawlings-Blake walked through Mondawmin Mall, which had been turned into "a disaster zone, war zone" the night before, according to Jason Fruman, owner of The Great Cookie.

Fruman said he wanted to plan a day to "give out snickerdoodles to everybody downtown, bring some smiles to people in this tough economy and this tough situation that's happened."

The Baltimore Community Foundation established a special fund Tuesday to help Baltimore recover from the riots. The Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore will help "repair the physical and emotional damage that has been done and strengthen our community for the future," the foundation said.

Open Society Institute-Baltimore announced that it "stands ready, with resources and expertise, to help" make change happen in the city. The philanthropy said it will work in the weeks and months ahead to determine how to best respond.

A number of high-profile politicians and celebrities called for peace.

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis released a video in which he animatedly urges an end to the rioting. He said he would delay a planned trip to Chicago to help stop the violence, and the Ravens canceled a Thursday night party for the NFL draft.

Across the city, residents pledged to do their part.

Volunteers from Empowerment Temple handed out slices of Little Caesars Pizza, bottles of water and bags of chips to the crowd gathered at the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues. While some in the crowd danced and sang, others urged violence, shouting, "Light it up," and police used pepper spray to quell skirmishes.

Men wearing black shirts with the logo of the 300 Men March worked to ease tensions. Munir Bahar, a longtime community activist and an organizer of the anti-violence marches, pleaded with those gathered to calm down, as a police helicopter circled above.

"We all know the confrontation that's in front of us is not a confrontation that's going to be won in this manner," Bahar yelled into a microphone above the noise of the crowd. "For those out here who feel real tough, and you want to confront that, I suggest that everyone else back up, and let them release their toughness, and the consequences will follow."

At the corner near a CVS that was burned and looted, residents cooked hot dogs, played drums and prayed. Traci Glover, 25, strolled through the crowd blowing bubbles through a wand.

"There is a sense of community here that wants to promote change," she said.

"This is what the city is really about," said her husband, Bryant Glover.

Separately, about 50 members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, led by state Del. Keith Haynes, marched from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Western District police station, where police first called paramedics for Gray. The station has been the site of earlier protests.

The fraternity members said they are concerned about Freddie Gray's death and the justice system, but urged residents to unite to confront social ills plaguing the community.

"This is our Pettus Bridge," R.A. Mills told the group, referring to the iconic bridge in Selma, as they stood, arms locked, behind a concrete barrier. "It's our opportunity to take this and move it to the next level."

"We need peace, love and community in our city," said Steven T. Johnson.

But some residents wondered how they would recover from the riots and their losses.

Clarence Howell, 65, stood Tuesday on the sidewalk as helicopters flew overhead and residents and media gawked at his scorched block. He wasn't sure what to do next; he had to leave his house and did not have homeowners insurance.

Looters had set fire to the corner market next door. It soon spread to his home.

The corner is the same one where Gray had his legs shackled by police, a block south from where he was arrested. The circumstances of Gray's death are still under investigation.

Howell's niece, Ashley Lowery, 25, a social worker, stood nearby. She had once lived in the neighborhood. "I need … for people to realize, it's not just about Freddie Gray," she said. "These things have been going on for years and years and years."

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton, Catherine Rentz, Mark Puente, Erin Cox, John Fritze, Michael Dresser, Jeff Barker, Luke Broadwater, Jon Meoli, Carrie Wells, Ian Duncan, Meredith Cohn, Eduardo A. Encina and Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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