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The ACLU is requesting that Baltimore's nightly curfew be lifted.

In a letter sent to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Thursday, ACLU-Maryland's legal director, Deborah A. Jeon, argues the curfew is infringing on residents' constitutional freedoms.

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Jeon said Baltimore residents have a right to demand policy changes and express their concerns "on the streets and sidewalks of Baltimore without unnecessary restrictions that at this point seem to serve more to stoke community anger and resentment than to ensure public safety."

Jeon wrote that the initial purpose of the curfew was to restore order and ensure safety in the city.

"We think it is clear that these conditions have now been met such that the curfew is no longer serving its intended purpose, and we urge you to lift it," she wrote.

A nightly curfew of 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. went into effect Tuesday night, following violent rioting and destruction in parts of the city on Monday. Businesses were asked to suspend non-essential operations during the curfew hours.

Since Monday's violence, demonstrations related to the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured in police custody, have been largely peaceful.

"A curfew that forces people inside is one of the greatest restraints that can be placed on our constitutional freedoms," Jeon wrote.

The ACLU joins others groups that have asked for the curfew to be lifted. Some bar owners and restaurateurs have said they are losing significant business because they have had to close so early in the night.

Hampden Village Merchants Association President Benn Ray wrote to the mayor Thursday, saying the effect on small businesses in the neighborhood is "devastating."

In a response to the Hampden merchants, Howard Libit, a spokesman for the mayor's office, wrote that the need for a curfew is evaluated each day. "When we feel that the curfew is no longer needed, then we will no longer keep it in place," he wrote.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Larry Perl contributed to this article.

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