Black Lives Matter protesters march from downtown Miami to Little Haiti, prompting closures

MIAMI (WSVN) - A Black Lives Matter protest that began in downtown Miami made its way north of Wynwood to the Little Haiti neighborhood, leading authorities to temporarily close Interstate 95 in the area.

Another protest is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

In a tweet posted just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, City of Miami Police said the highway was shut down in both directions near the Julia Tuttle Causeway and State Road 112. It was reopened about two hours later.

A group of about 150 people gathered at the Torch of Friendship around 3 p.m. and sat in front of the monument.

“I don’t want to see nobody else who looks like me or anybody else get killed for having breath in their body,” said protester Terence Julius.

About two hours later, the marchers were spotted making their way north on Northwest 2nd Avenue near 12th Street.

“For who do we stand? The people of the land!” they chanted.

“Police reform, convictions, justice,” said Julius.

Police said other areas in downtown Miami and Overtown were also closed while demonstrators marched through the area.

Protesters headed north on Biscayne Boulevard before making a westbound turn.

Just after 5:40 p.m., the group moved to the Wynwood neighborhood and continued to grow in size.

Saturday’s march comes after about two weeks of nonstop demonstrations throughout South Florida, including protests on Saturday in Coconut Grove, Pompano Beach and Lauderdale Lakes.

Protesters said it’s important to keep the momentum going.

“I think it’s very important, because the fight is never done,” said protester Sara Badoada. “I feel like this is such a deep-rooted problem that we have in our society that just one week, just one day of protesting isn’t enough.”

The crowd seems to be well-organized. Participants designated specific marching formations and commands.

They also recited the names of recent black lives lost.

“Say her name! Breonna Taylor!” they chanted.

Some protesters even danced during the march, causing spectators to join in on the action.

“Dancing, art, anything that’s with music and rhythm, it’s in our blood,” said Julius.

But despite the party atmosphere, protesters said their message is serious.

“I’m here to say, all black lives matter, which means black trans lives, black gay lives,” said demonstrator Syire Vaillancourt. “It doesn’t matter the color of your skin. All black lives matter.”

On-ramps to I-95 southbound from the Dolphin Expressway and the MacArthur Causeway were also shut down, as well as an on-ramp to I-95 from State Road 112 and the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

As of 6:10 p.m. protesters continued heading north toward the Little Haiti neighborhood, prompting police to shut down the Julia Tuttle Causeway in both directions. It has since reopened.

At its peak, it appeared that close to 300 people had joined the mobile movement.

“We’re peaceful, we haven’t done one ruckus, one nothing,” said Vaillancourt. “We’re not littering; we’re throwing everything away. We’re making sure everyone’s protected, and we’re all in this in one.”​

Just before 8 p.m., the group reached the area of Northwest 62nd Street and North Miami Avenue in Little Haiti.

“We must love and protect each other,” protesters chanted.

The protest wrapped up shortly after. However, about three dozen protesters returned to the Torch of Friendship just after 10 p.m.

Organizers urge concerned residents to continue to show up to these marches.

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