Baltimore Riots
Demonstrators jump on a damaged police car during clashes in Baltimore, Maryland 27 April 2015Reuters

Ongoing violent protests in Baltimore, Maryland have led Governor Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency and the city mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake to place it under a curfew.

Newly confirmed US Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemn the demonstrations, calling them "senseless acts of violence".

"In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents," Lynch said. "And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence."

According to USA Today, Lynch sent the Justice Department's director of community policy office and the agency's civil rights chief to Baltimore.

The protests, which turned increasingly violent on Monday 27 April, followed the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.

In a statement released on Monday, the governor's office said he was closely monitoring the situation and was in contact with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office.

"Today's looting and acts of violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated. In response, I have put the Maryland National Guard on alert so they can be in position to deploy rapidly as needed," Hogan said.

"I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers. There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law."

During a late-night press conference, Hogan said, "People have the right to protest and express their frustration. But Baltimore City families deserve peace and safety." He also announced that Maryland state police was requesting 5,000 police officers from the region.

Following the press conference from city and state officials, it was reported that a large building under construction was set on fire. The Mary Harvin Transformation Center, located near a Baptist church, was described as community-based organisation for families and youth, USA Today reported. According to the mayor's spokesman, Kevin Harris, the fire was related to the riots.

Baltimore Police announced early on Monday that seven officers were injured during the riots and that at least one business was set on fire. Baltimore Police Captain Eric Kowalczyk told reporters that one officer was "unresponsive" and that others had broken bones.

Rawlings-Blake stated that a week-long citywide curfew will start at 10pm and last until 5am. She described the violent unrest as "very disturbing".

"Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who in a very senseless way are trying to destroy what so many folks have fought for," she said.

"We are deploying every resource possible to try to regain control."

Asked why she took so long to get up to speed, she said: "We've been managing the situation. You have to balance the call with actually managing and calling press events. There's a lot of moving parts and I wanted to make sure I was dedicated to that."

A spokesman for the Baltimore City Police said that 15 officers had been injured in the unrest. He said that two are still being treated in hospital after being hit by "flying debris".

The police department used its Twitter account to alert the public about ongoing efforts to reign in protesters. It tweeted that it had received reports "of several people inside Mondawmin Mall looting and destroying property". The department also used the social media website to plead with motorists to avoid certain areas.

Baltimore Police allegedly received word that "members of various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods and Crips have entered into a partnership to 'take out' law enforcement officers," USA Today reported.

Demonstrators threw bricks, rocks and other objects at law enforcement hours after Gray's funeral. Several police vehicles were destroyed after windows were smashed and cars were set aflame. Police blamed "school-aged kids" for throwing debris at police.

The Baltimore Orioles postponed a Monday night game, according to USA Today. The University of Maryland also shut down its campus.

Before the service, Gray's body, clad in a white shirt, black tie and dark pants, lay in an open white coffin in front of the altar as mourners passed by. The coffin was closed during the service.

Gray was arrested on 12 April after he fled from police in a high-crime area. He was carrying a switchblade knife, and he was put inside a transport van to be taken to a police station.

At some point, Gray suffered the spinal injury that led to his death a week later. City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said on Friday that officers failed to belt him into his seat securely and to give him timely medical attention.

Police said they would conclude their investigation by Friday 1 May and forward the results to state prosecutors. Six officers have been suspended, and the US Justice Department is investigating the incident for possible civil rights violations.

During a press conference, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced that the city would be instituting a citywide curfew of 10pm to 5am for a week, beginning 28 April. The mayor added that National Guard would be deployed soon.

Reuters reported that the citywide curfew would begin at 9pm for people ages 14 and younger.