(SALISBURY, Md.)- Mayor James Ireton, Jr. Wednesday afternoon announced his support of a peaceful vigil expected to take place that evening in Downtown Salisbury.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., Salisbury Police Department was made aware of a flyer circulating within the community, promoting a peaceful "Die-In and Justice Vigil" this evening in Salisbury's Downtown. Given the events of the past week in Baltimore, Mayor Ireton consulted with Police Chief Barbara Duncan and all City department heads to ensure citizens are afforded a safe forum within which to exercise their constitutional rights to assemble and speak. To that end, in addition to extra patrol units and first responders, the City will be providing portable restroom units, water stations, and extra trash and recycling receptacles.

Mayor Ireton expressed his unwavering dedication to the protection of free speech and peaceable assembly, but noted the importance of preparedness - especially in light of the events of the past week.

"Chief Duncan has been on the phone with law enforcement at all levels throughout the morning and early afternoon. The City of Salisbury has activated our Continuance of Government Operations at a Level 2 - which is a 'Watch.' A 'Watch' is a notification to all city departments for preparation for an event. The city has notified businesses and residents in the downtown area of the event. Though we are not under a state of emergency, the city suggests that businesses which typically close in the late afternoon stay closed until tomorrow morning (April 30th), and we are suggesting that businesses which are located in the downtown outside of regular business hours consider closing this evening and reopening tomorrow. Downtown residents are asked that when they arrive home this evening they remain at home. The City Attorney has drafted a Civil Emergency Proclamation and a General Curfew order as a precaution.

"The city does not see this event as a threat, and we are attempting to work with organizers to move the protest to the steps of the Government Office Building. Trash Cans and Port-a-Potties are being provided for the "Die-In" in order to respect citizens' rights to peacefully assemble. Given the events that have encapsulated our state over the past 2 days the city is inclined to prepare for this event. Our respect for the right to peacefully assemble must be balanced with our charge to protect the health, safety and welfare of people and property."

Timeline of Events

10:03 a.m. Police Chief Barbara Duncan contacted the Mayor to let him know of a planned "Die-In and Justice Vigil" at 8:30pm on the City Plaza.

10:10 a.m. Mayor called Council President Jake Day and informed him of the planned event

10:44 a.m. Mayor informed City Council members of the planned event

11:00 a.m. Mayor contacted Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio in the Governor's Office

11:20 a.m. Mayor contacted Sharon Morris in the County Executive's Office

12:15 p.m. Mayor met with all Dept. Heads and their Deputies at City Hall

12:33 p.m. Mayor contacted Dr. Frederickson at the WCBOE

12:40 p.m. Mayor contacted Andrea Berstler at the Wicomico County Public Library

1:32 p.m. Mayor contacted SU President Janet Dudley Eschbach's office