By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – What started as a peaceful protest in Miami by people demanding justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis, turned violent several hours after it started.

The demonstration started around 3:00 p.m. near Bayfront Park but the protesters took it on the road to I-95, where the large crowd walking down the highway, forced the closure of all lanes of traffic on Saturday afternoon near Miami Police Department Headquarters.

Eventually, some people in the crowd marched down the exit ramp to gather outside police headquarters.

Two police cars burn during a demonstration next to the city of Miami Police Department, Saturday, May 30, 2020, downtown in Miami. Protests were held throughout the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

As night fell, it became chaotic and police used tear gas and a mandatory dispersal order to thin the crowd.

Protesters set fire to several cars including police cars.

Police in riot gear, marching in two lines, were spotted walking into the scene.

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Some people began looting stores at Bayside Marketplace several blocks away.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez quickly issued a mandatory curfew starting at 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.  The City of Miami followed suit with a curfew of its own also at 10:00 p.m. Saturday but even earlier, from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Sunday.  Anyone who violates the curfew will be arrested, police said.

As of midnight Saturday, Miami-Dade police said they had made 38 arrests so far.

Miami-Dade transit also announced all Miami-Dade Transit services, including Metrorail, Metromover, Metrobus and the Go Nightly program, were suspended for the night and the suspension will continue Sunday.

GALLERY: MIAMI DEMONSTRATION TURNS VIOLENT

Earlier in the day, a smaller protest took place in Coral Gables and other parts of South Florida.

The demonstrators joined nationwide protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

Chopper 4 was over the scene when the peaceful protest started with about 500 people walking through downtown Miami streets. Many of them were holding signs and chanting, “No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.”

“We are holding onto our street now these are our streets,” said one demonstrator.

Many said they were angry about the death of Floyd, who died after an officer suppressed him by using his knee on his neck.

That officer was charged Friday with murder.

“We are here to take a stand that’s what this is all about,” said a marcher.

They said they are angry and want to send a message.

“I am tired of what’s going on and I want justice,” said a demonstrator.

“I am out here because this has been going on for decades.”

“If you are not furious, there’s something wrong with you.”

Peter D'Oench

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