Baltimore protests
A police armored car is pelted with garbage as it moves down a street as clouds of smoke and crowd control agents rise shortly after the deadline for a city-wide curfew passed in Baltimore, April 28, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

UPDATE 10:49 p.m. EDT: A crowd of angry protesters in downtown Baltimore threw rocks and water bottles at police officers Tuesday night and refused to vacate the area at North and Pennsylvania avenues, despite an emergency citywide curfew.

UPDATE 10:35 p.m. EDT: Baltimore police fired pepper balls at crowds still on the street despite a 10 p.m. curfew Tuesday. Media reports indicated many of the protesters who had been gathered on the streets had dispersed.

MSNBC reported members of the crowd threw the pepper balls and other missiles back toward police. No arrests were made immediately.

Police said some protesters were starting fires.

Original post:

Bull horns sounded across Baltimore as the start of a citywide curfew drew near Tuesday night. The curfew was to begin at 10 p.m. and end at 5 a.m. for the next seven days. But a crowd of protesters gathered at North and Pennsylvania avenues continued to grow in size and anger an hour before the deadline, police said. And there were reports of a group throwing rocks and bricks at officers as the curfew descended.

“We hope for peace,” Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said during a press conference outside police headquarters, adding that Maryland law enforcement officers were deployed to the area to monitor the crowd, which had blocked the roadway.

Kowalczyk said only high priority calls would be dispatched to police officers on the street. There were reports of fatal shootings ahead of the curfew Tuesday night on Park Heights Avenue and North Longwood Street, according to the official Twitter account of the Baltimore Police Department. People experiencing medical emergencies or going to and from work will be exempt from the strict curfew.

City youth have taken center stage in Baltimore’s violent riots since Freddie Gray, 25, died in police custody earlier this month. Kowalcyzk said police Commissioner Anthony Batts has the power to impose a 24-hour juvenile curfew in addition to the citywide curfew, which was enacted by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“He has the authority to do that. That has not been done,” Kowalczyk said Tuesday. “That is a decision that will be made if it is necessary.”

Earlier Tuesday, Batts said the city saw serious damage from riots overnight but that residents came together after sunrise to help the affected communities clean up. “Overall today, it has been a very good day,” Batts said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “We had people bringing calm and peace.”