Curfew: what it is, objective, causes and examples

What is Curfew

A partial restriction of the right to free movement by a government is called a curfew. Its application is usually contemplated in the constitutions or laws of each country. It is a consequence of the declaration of a state of alarm or state of exception.

When a curfew is decreed, a circulation schedule and a backup schedule are established. In some cases, it may involve the suspension of certain types of activities.

Whoever does not comply with the curfew is considered a threat factor that puts the community at risk and, therefore, is subject to their arrest or the application of force by the security forces.

Objectives and Impact of Curfew

The function of curfew is to guarantee citizen security against various threats, for which reason the measure is considered as a means of safeguarding human rights. The purpose of the curfew is to facilitate the work of the authorities during an emergency and to restore social order.

Causes of Curfew

The curfew responds to emergencies that create chaos and put the safety of citizens at risk, requiring radical containment measures. The most commons are:

  • Popular Riots;
  • Military Uprisings;
  • War Situations;
  • Natural Disasters;
  • Pandemics.

Examples of Curfews

Throughout history there have been different cases of curfews. For example:

  • 2020. Different Latin American countries decreed a curfew in the face of the threat of COVID 19 (coronavirus) to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
  • Honduras, 2017-2018. In the face of post-election protests, the government decreed a curfew for 12 hours a day for ten days.
  • Puerto Rico, 2017. A wave of looting after the passage of Hurricane Maria motivated the Governor to decree a curfew between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. indefinitely.
  • Chile, 2010. The government decrees a 12-hour daily curfew after the wave of looting that followed the earthquake that year.
  • Venezuela, 1989. After a wave of looting known as “caracazo”, the Venezuelan government decreed a curfew between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am over several days.