17 ICE protesters arrested outside Miramar US Customs facility

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police arrested 17 protesters from the group Circle of Protection, hours after they blocked an intersection outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Miramar.

7News cameras captured Miramar Police officers putting the demonstrators in police cruisers near the corner of Southwest 145th Avenue and 29th Street, Wednesday evening.

Officers could be seen holding a protester by his hands and feet to carry him to the squad car.

“We love you! We see you!” shouted fellow protesters as each of the people who were taken into custody was taken away to the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale.

The group, which is demanding the closure of the immigration facility, stopped traffic on Southwest 145th Avenue, starting at around 11 a.m. They joined arms and lay down on the pavement as cars swerved around them.

Police closed the roadway shortly after.

Demonstrators demanded the closure of the Miramar facility and voiced their opposition to the Trump administration’s current immigration policies.

“We are here today for the babies who are in cages, for the dignity of migrant communities and for the justice that we all deserve,” said protester Carlos Valnera.

Tents were brought in to help shield protesters from the harsh sunlight. Meanwhile, others held signs, such as one that read, “ICE Out.”

“What we’re seeing right now at the border is a violation of human rights. It’s a violation of the rule of law,” said protester Gonzalo Vizcardo Chiesa.

“I would like to see the ICE facility shut down and every human being treated as a human,” said protester Alaa Massri.

Some individuals used arm guards to interlock hands and arms to keep them from being separated.

As the afternoon wore on, the skies darkened and opened up. But demonstrators stayed where they were, despite the heavy downpour.

A lone dissenter, Jose Quinones, held up a large banner that read, “Trump: Make America Great Again.”

“[President Trump] is already doing the best he can to afford those children [the opportunity] to come close to their parents again,” he said. “A lot of them are not even their parents, a lot of people, so they’re trying to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.”

Miramar Police initially warned the group that they had until 5 p.m. to pack up and leave. They began to make arrests just before 6 p.m., as officers moved in to remove the protesters from the intersection, more than six hours after they set up camp.

“We have a legal team, and our brothers and sisters are going to be fine,” said organizer Eli Cuna from United We Dream. “They are freedom fighters, and we’re gonna debrief on what happened, and why we are doing this.”

According to those participating in the demonstration, the protesters consist of Americans and elected officials demanding the abolishment of ICE.

Around 75 protesters were out in the area, while about eight or nine individuals worked to block the streets.

“We know that what we have seen is nothing compared to the hundreds and thousands of people who have been caged in the prisons and also in the detention facilities,” said Cuna.

Police arrested all the protesters at the scene by 6:20 p.m.

The intersection of Southwest 145th Avenue and 29th Street later reopened to traffic.

Protest organizers said they hope all of the people who were arrested will be able to bond out by Thursday.

Miramar Police said they have been charged with unlawful assembly and obstructing a highway or roadway.

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