Countywide curfew goes into effect in Miami-Dade after protests, confrontations with police; dozens arrested

MIAMI (WSVN) - A curfew has gone into effect in Miami-Dade County in the wake of violent confrontations between protesters and police officers in Downtown Miami.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez made the announcement Saturday night, just after protests in Downtown Miami escalated into tense encounters outside of Miami Police headquarters.

The curfew went into effect at 9 p.m. and will  be enforced until 6 a.m. on Sunday.

In the City of Miami, another curfew will be enforced from 8 p.m. on Sunday until 6 a.m. on Monday, officials said.

Just before midnight, Miami-Dade Police said they have made 38 arrests.

7News cameras showed barricades in place at the intersection of Northwest Second Avenue and Third Street, near Miami Police headquarters.

 

 

Hours earlier, cameras captured officers wearing protective gear and shields outside of Miami Police headquarters as some protesters were seen throwing objects at the west entrance.

Officers used tear gas in an attempt to disperse demonstrators.

According to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a group of about 200 agitators lingered past the time that the protest was scheduled to wrap up, and that’s when the disruptions started.

Cameras also captured a vehicle after it was set on fire near police headquarters. It was one of several vehicles that were set ablaze. At least one of them was a police cruiser.

7News has learned firefighters who responded to put out the car fires ended up leaving the scene after putting out at least one the fires, probably because protesters got in their way and began throwing objects at them.

Just before 9:10 p.m., Skyforce HD hovered above Bayside Marketplace after reports of looters at the complex. Cameras showed overturned garbage cans and their contents strewn all over the ground.

Miami Police officers reported to the scene soon after.

In a tweet, police urged the public to avoid Downtown Miami and Wynwood due to the protests.

At around 9:30 p.m., Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said officers are strictly enforcing the curfew, and anyone seen violating it is subject to arrest.

That’s what began unfolding in parts of Miami, as 7News cameras captured police officers taking people into custody.

Colina also stressed that it’s particularly important for people to stay indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, demonstrators who took their face coverings when they came into contact with tear gas could have unknowingly spread the virus further.

All Miami-Dade Transit services have also been suspended.

The skirmishes follow a day of peaceful protests in Downtown Miami and Coral Gables. Hundreds of demonstrators marched down Biscayne Boulevard and Miracle Mile to call for justice in the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis on Monday while four police officers were taking him into custody. He was 46 years old.

Cellphone video showing one of the officers kneeling on Floyd’s neck sparked outrage across the country, igniting both peaceful and violent protests in major cities.

After marching along and near Biscayne Boulevard, Saturday afternoon, some of the protesters headed toward Interstate 95, eventually causing Florida Highway Patrol troopers to shut down the highway in both directions near Downtown Miami. It has since reopened to traffic.

Miami is one of more than a dozen U.S. cities where a curfew is in effect.

Hallandale Beach officials have ordered a curfew to go into effect from 11 p.m. on Saturday until 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Please check back on WSVN.com and 7News for more details on this developing story.

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