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New Orleans warns residents of curfew arrests

AFP | September 2, 2008

New Orleans authorities have warned residents who ignored a mandatory hurricane evacuation that police may arrest anyone found outside their properties during a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Nearly two million inhabitants of the US Gulf Coast fled before Hurricane Gustav made landfall in Louisiana, but around 10,000 people stayed in the city despite the mandatory evacuation ordered by Mayor Ray Nagin on Sunday.

"The City's mandatory evacuation, which began on Sunday, August 31, remains in effect. The City of New Orleans has a curfew from dusk until dawn beginning Sunday, August 31, 2008," the city's emergency operation centre said in a news release.

"Those persons who remain within the City of New Orleans do so at their own risk and are subject to arrest if they are outside the boundaries of their own property."

National guard soldiers and police are guarding the city's streets to prevent the looting and chaos seen following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Nagin warned that looters would be arrested and sent directly to prison.