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Protesters force closure of gate at Camden Yards, but not delay in game

The protests over Freddie Gray's death reached Camden Yards on Saturday night.

A crowd of demonstrators protesting the death of Freddie Gray gathered in front of Camden Yards about an hour before the Orioles' game Saturday night against the Boston Red Sox, temporarily forcing the closure of an entrance to the ballpark.

At Gate H, the entrance behind center field, a line of metal barriers blocked access to one of Camden Yards' most used entry points during what is normally one of its busiest pregame periods. Two lines of Baltimore Police officers stood along Camden Street and along the north corner of the Warehouse near the box office.  

The group gathered near Babe Ruth Plaza for several minutes, holding signs and chanting, then marched west along West Camden Street. Gate H remained closed for at least half an hour.

The protest was mostly peaceful, but one glass bottle was thrown toward the police, shattering next to the statue of Babe Ruth at the gate. Some protestors yelled at fans through the gate, with one saying: “Good luck getting home.”

Fans already inside the ballpark were ushered away from the gates. Some recorded the protest on their cellphones as they watched from the courtyard, standing near statues honoring Orioles greats. As the Red Sox took batting practice, fans in the center-field rooftop deck seemed more focused on the protestors.

On the busiest day of protest since Gray, 25, died after suffering spinal cord injuries while in police custody after his arrest April 12 in West Baltimore, the increased police presence at Camden Yards was apparent, with officers stationed at all gates and across the venue. The group of protestors stopped at the ballpark earlier in the afternoon on its way to City Hall from West Baltimore.

Despite the gate closure, the game began without any delay. At the 7:05 p.m. first pitch, the ballpark was less than half full, a rarity for a weekend-night game against the Red Sox.

The Orioles did not immediately respond to an email Saturday from The Baltimore Sun asking whether they had considered delaying the game.

On Friday, the Orioles issued a statement: "In conjunction with Major League Baseball, we regularly review our security procedures and with local, state and federal officials and make both visible and behind-the-scenes enhancements to our already significant security policies and procedures to ensure the safety of all fans. We encourage fans coming to the games this weekend and throughout the homestand to be mindful of any potential street closures that may impact their travel time."

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