Texas cities lift curfews instituted after violent protests

Donnell Ballard blocks traffic during a march in downtown Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2020. The protest was to show solidarity in the midst of the latest killing of George Floyd, an African American man by police in Minnesota. (Lawrence Jenkins/The Dallas Morning News via AP) (Lawrence Jenkins, Lawrence Jenkins)

DALLAS – Officials in Dallas and San Antonio on Saturday lifted nighttime curfews that had been put in place after several days of demonstrations that saw multiple eruptions of violence and vandalism.

In Dallas, the curfew was lifted after consultation with police Chief U. Renee Hall and the City Council, said City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

“We’ve seen many moving and peaceful protests over the last few days, some of which I joined,” Broadnax said in a statement. “We heard feedback from residents ready to open and conduct business in central Dallas and we agree it’s time. The city of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department continue to respect and protect the rights of peaceful demonstrators.”

Broadnax said Dallas residents were safer staying at home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The curfew had been announced May 31 by Hall after violent protests took place in downtown Dallas and other areas over the death of George Floyd and the treatment of black people by police.

In San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg rescinded the curfew in the downtown business district, which had been put in place on Wednesday.

“The San Antonio Police Department remains committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all who peacefully protest while also ensuring the safety of people and protection of property. I hope this will be a strong foundation for an ongoing conversation about the relationship law enforcement agencies have with our community," said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

On Saturday afternoon, about 300 people gathered peacefully in front of San Antonio police headquarters and were set to march later in the day.

In Austin, Police Chief Brian Manley was part of a group of officers who kneeled on Saturday in an act of solidarity alongside protesters outside police headquarters for a few minutes.

Manley has come under intense criticism for his department's handling of protests in Austin and officers' use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds.

At least two Austin City Council members have called for Manley's resignation. During an emergency council meeting Thursday, Manley said his agency will no longer use bean bag rounds with crowds.