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Bradley, officials report let-up in violence

By DAVE McNARY

LOS ANGELES, May 1, 1992 (UPI) - Mayor Tom Bradley and other city officials announced Friday that authorities have started to gain the upper hand after two days of rioting and arson that left more than 30 dead and damages of at least $250 million.

Bradley said that the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on Thursday had helped cut back the violence and announced that he would extend the curfew indefinitely.

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''It was the unanimous opinion of all the people involved -- the police, the fire department, the merchants -- that the curfew was effective,'' Bradley told a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall.

''There are some encouraging signs,'' City Council President John Ferraro said.

Fire Chief Donald Manning said the fire department received 5,000 calls on Thursday, five times the number of a normal day. But during Friday morning, the number of calls dropped off to about one fourth the number on Thursday.

Police Chief Daryl Gates said violence in the South Los Angeles area had lessened during the night, but he noted that new outbreaks were reported the Los Angeles Harbor area, the mid-city area and in the Panorama City section of the San Fernando Valley.

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Bradley said more than 800 National Guard troops were in the streets assisting the police as of Friday morning of the total 6,000 National Guard troops already put on alert. He said 1,000 federal law enforcement officers would be in place by noon.

Bradley also strongly endorsed the move by President Bush to order 4,000 Army troops in to the area from Fort Ord in northern California to help law enforcement.

''We were concerned that the situation might get out of control,'' he said when asked why troops were called.

''With an incident of this kind, there has to be a massive show of strength,'' said Bradley, who sought to provide reassurance that the chaos that has paralyzed the nation's second largest city for two days will end.

''We want to make it clear that we are serious,'' he said. ''We are going to take back the streets from the thugs and hoods that have used this incident as an excuse to loot and burn and kill and we will not tolerate it.''

The violence, which broke out Wednesday after four white policemen were acquitted of the videotaped beating of a black motorist, appeared to abate during while the curfew was in effect citywide. But with daybreak, new fires cropped up throughout South Los Angeles, Koreatown and other already devastated parts of the city.

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Gates said he is troubled that federal help had to be called. ''It's a horrible indictment of our civility but what has to be done, has to be done,'' he said.

The violence has resulted in more than 1,200 injuries and more than 3,000 arrests. At least 2,000 structure fires have been reported since the violence erupted in predominantly black neighborhoods following the surprising not-guilty verdicts in the notorious Rodney King beating trial.

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