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City offers liberal leave, traffic impact expected for protests

As protesters continue to march on Baltimore streets Thursday, city officials urge motorists to considering leaving work early and preparing for delays.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake decided to grant liberal leave to city employees based in downtown offices to help ease traffic conditions.

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Protests are planned for the sixth day as people demand answers into the death of Freddie Gray a 25-year-old man who died Sunday after sustaining injuries in police custody.

Traffic is expected to be the worst in the downtown area. Transportation officials warned that the afternoon and evening commutes would be unpredictable, and advised those who work in the heart of the city to commute before 3 p.m. to avoid major disruptions.

Kevin Harris, a mayoral spokesman, said city workers based in downtown offices can request to take leave beginning at 2 p.m.

The decision was made to "give them an opportunity to make it home without interfering with the protest," Harris said.

The employees will need to get permission from their supervisors to take the leave, he said.

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