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Greensboro enacts curfew as George Floyd protests continue

Greensboro police arrested a man for violating the first night of curfew. He was sitting on top of the Nathaniel Greene statue.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan enacted a citywide curfew on Monday night that could last for a week. 

Vaughan issued the following statement on her Facebook page

"I am issuing a citywide CURFEW effective immediately from 8:00pm - 6:00am, to be in effect until modified or rescinded. Please plan accordingly. It will restrict travel within the city limits."

WFMY News 2 interviewed Mayor Vaughan Monday afternoon. 

"Obviously the events of the last two nights {Saturday and Sunday} were very concerning to us, and the violence really escalated," she continued. "We wanted to take action before anyone was hurt or injured, the property damage is concerning enough but we’re really concerned about the safety and well being of our residents."

The curfew could last a week. 

"At this point, I would expect it to exist through the week because we are aware there are some protests planned for next weekend."

Greensboro Police did not have any reports of injuries from the protests on Saturday or Sunday. No arrests either, besides one counter-protester who was taken into custody Saturday afternoon. 

On the first night of the curfew, police arrested a man who violated the order. He was sitting on top of the Nathaniel Greene statue. 

Mayor Vaughan said she hopes the curfew will help businesses. Sixty or more were vandalized, and are now boarded up. 

RELATED: ‘We will not tolerate destruction,’ Law enforcement address Greensboro demonstrations

"It’s sad really for Elm Street, our downtown, our small 'mom and pop shops' restaurants, boutique, and businesses," Mayor Vaughan stated. "For those business owners it really is their heart and soul they’ve invested sometimes all the money they have and to see people wantonly break windows and loot their life savings; that’s heartbreaking."

Mayor Vaughan believes the nighttime violence no longer has anything to do with George Floyd. 

"We support everybody’s First Amendment right and we agree that what happened to George Floyd was absolutely horrific, but what was happening in the evening was not a tribute to his name."

RELATED: Third night of protests in downtown Greensboro

One of the demonstrators from the weekend, Richard Hughes, said he understands the curfew, but said peaceful protesters still need a platform. 

"I understand it, but I think it also falls short because there's a reason people are out there," Hughes explained. "I get our city leaders and governmental officials want everyone to be safe, that should be the top priority, but I think even if people do not follow it the measures in which they take to enforce it shouldn't be as harsh."

Greensboro Police said their first course of action will be to talk to groups of people if they are out past curfew, and hope for voluntary compliance.

But you could be arrested if you defy the order, faced with a misdemeanor that comes with a $500 fine or up to 30 days in jail. 

Mayor Vaughan said there will be no checkpoints, and many Greensboro residents won't see much of a disturbance. 

She added that restaurants can still offer delivery and drive-thru past 8 p.m., but stores should close by that time.

Raleigh city officials are also enacting a curfew starting Monday night. 

Greensboro's curfew comes after two days of protests in the downtown area. The demonstrations were peaceful for most of those days. However, some outsiders went on to vandalize businesses once the protests were over. 

Credit: WFMY

Immediately, people started asking questions about how the curfew would affect them. Yes, you can travel to and from work. And no, restaurants don't have to close at 8 pm. But the message from the city is, there shouldn't be many customers out and about. 

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RELATED: Fireworks, tear gas, and windows broken during second night of demonstrations in Greensboro