Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has declared a curfew for 7 p.m. Sunday, allowing only essential travel, in a move to prevent further unrest that led to destructive protests Saturday night.
The Democrat spoke on the steps of City Hall Sunday morning, as crews cleaned glass off city sidewalks and volunteers organized to remove debris from Albany’s South End.
The mayor commended the thousands who peacefully marched Saturday afternoon, but condemned the overnight violence outside the city’s South Station that led to a curfew declared around 11 p.m..
“Our community is suffering. But Albany is better than what we saw last night. Albany is a community that comes together when we are suffering. Albany is a community that figures out how to work through the pain.”
Police from multiple agencies responded as demonstrations escalated after sundown. Sheehan said the city was not expecting violence to break out.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said Sunday that he believed the violence was instigated by a small number of agitators, some of whom may have come from outside the area.
“We want to let the community know that we are going to be working very, very hard to bring those individuals to justice.”
Hawkins said two individuals were arrested for looting.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, who was observed putting out fires in the South End, said Sunday morning he was encouraged by the peaceful protest earlier Saturday.
“That could have been the story on the national level, ‘Look at the way the City of Albany did it, look at the way they protested with hundreds of people and did it the right way.’ And that was a good story and still is. And then this takes away from it,” said McCoy.
McCoy said the county encouraged organizers of Saturday’s larger, peaceful protest to ask demonstrators to wear protective face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
NOTE: This is a developing story.