Over the weekend, the South Florida community joined in nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died under the of Minneapolis police.
Across major states including California, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Washington, South Carolina, among others, hundreds of demonstrators lined the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, and the overall police brutality in America. The protests have also gone global, in cities like London, Berlin, Toronto and Copenhagen.
Locally, in addition to protests in Tampa and Coral Gables, hundreds of protestors gathered at the Torch of Friendship and Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami on Saturday, chanting “No justice, no peace. No racist police”.
The protests began peacefully in the afternoon, but as the march went on and the crowds grew, tensions began to mount between residents and members of law enforcement.
Sections of the city were shut down and eventually, police began firing tear gas and pepper spray at a crowd outside the City of Miami Police Department. Protestors were also seen throwing objects at police and setting cars on fire.
By the end of the night, Miami-Dade Police announced 46 arrests had been made as a result of the protest.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the tear gas was fired after officers witnessed two vehicles being looted and vandalized by protestors. He said that other than the gas, there was no clash between protestors and police.
“We wanted to give the protestors the opportunity to express themselves peacefully. We understood there was a tremendous amount of anger – justifiably so – over the despicable act that occurred with George Floyd,” Suarez said. “And, by and large, that’s what they did.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a countywide curfew of 10 p.m. later in the night. Hallandale Beach later issued a curfew of 11 p.m.
Miami-Dade also suspended its transit services, which includes the Metrorail, Metromover and Metrobus for the remainder of the weekend.
The city of Miami will have its own 8 p.m. curfew for Sunday night, but protests are still scheduled to take place in the state.
In Lauderhill on Sunday, the Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, Broward DSA and Broward Dream Defenders are organizing a protest at 3 p.m.
In northwest Miami, THEE Miami Dream Defenders have a protest scheduled for the same time.