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Baltimore curfew holds amid reports of renewed protests in Ferguson

A curfew enforced following two days of riots in the US city of Baltimore has been largely followed. Social media users and local media, however, have reported protests reignited violence in Ferguson, Missouri.

Authorities imposed the emergency seven-hour at 10:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday (0200 UTC Wednesday) in a bid to stave off another night of violence similar to what erupted after the

funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray

- an African-American man who died on April 19 from injuries sustained in while in police custody. The curfew will be re-imposed each night for a week.

On Monday, protesters set fire to over 140 cars and 15 buildings,

looted stores, and hurled rocks

at the security forces. At least 20 police officers have been injured in the riots, and one person was in critical condition as the result of a "structure fire," according to police.

The death of Freddie Gray, whose arrest was captured on video, follows a series of events involving black men dying from police violence.

Despite a more peaceful night on Tuesday, there were also reports of several hundred protesters refusing to clear the streets, with another group also starting a fire near a library. Baltimore Police later confirmed the reports on Twitter.

Protesters who defied the restriction were fired at by police with smoke bombs and pepper pellets.

President condemns riots

Ahead of Tuesday's curfew, US President Barack Obama

condemned Monday's rioting,

describing the violence as "counterproductive."

"There is no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday," he said at a White House press conference after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they're not protesting, they're not making a statement - they're stealing," Obama added.

The US president warned, however, that incidents in recent months "raised troubling questions" about the policing of black communities in the US.

"I think there are police departments that have to do some soul-searching," Obama added.

Gunfire reports in Ferguson

Early on Wednesday, there were also reports of violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which was the focal point of similar violence last summer following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Social media users reported hearing gunfire after threats of arrests by authorities if crowds failed to disperse. Local media reported that one person had been taken into custody in Ferguson.

ksb/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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