MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach residents came together to voice their anger and frustration after weeks of violence and chaos in the city during spring break.
7News cameras captured a nearly empty Ocean Drive on a wet Saturday night, after police enforced an ongoing 8 p.m. curfew.
Hours earlier, demonstrators gathered outside of Miami Beach City Hall, Saturday afternoon. Cameras showed them holding up signs.
“We need to sound the alarm,” said resident Scott Schrey.
“We don’t want any more shooting,” a woman told the crowd through a loudspeaker.
Protesters called out city leaders about the unrest that continued to escalate after the start of spring break.
“We welcome everyone to Miami Beach, but we want people to stop trashing our city,” said resident Christine Rosen Gonzalez.
Demonstrators said revelers have wreaked havoc to the area, and with the recent rough and rowdy behavior, they are no longer able to hold back their frustration.
Schrey, a longtime Miami Beach resident, said this is the first time he has seen the city like this.
“I trust [city leaders]. They’ve been voted in, and this [rally] is to influence them, because something needs to be done,” he said.
“I want to work with them on solutions, and there are a million brilliant minds here that can bring solutions,” said resident Tania Dean.
Miami Beach Police have made more than 1,000 spring break-related arrests since the beginning of February.
Cellphone videos that have gone viral captured throngs of revelers, many without masks, as they took over the city’s entertainment district, forcing officials to enforce a curfew extending from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in that area, from Thursday until Sunday, to combat the crime and chaos.
This past weekend, hundreds of spring breakers migrated west after the curfew went into effect and threw an impromptu street party in a residential area.
Protesters said, although the curfew is a good start, it’s still not enough.
“People are looking at us. They’re going to be afraid to come here,” said Rosen Gonzalez. “Are we really going to ruin our economic engine, or are we going to take the strong steps that we need to take to shut the party down?”
“Everyone is invited, everyone belongs, but when you’re coming into our our city and you’re causing violence weekend after weekend, something needs to be done,” said Schrey.
Demonstrators said their next step will be to attend the city’s townhall meeting on Tuesday.
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