MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Wynwood on Friday afternoon and evening to march and call for racial equality and police reform.
The group joined other protests planned for South Florida in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Protestors held signs calling for an end to systemic racism and the wrongful deaths of black men and women. They’re mostly putting the pressure on law enforcement agencies to change policies and have better relations with the black community. There is also a push to lower funding for police departments and sheriff’s offices.
Chopper 4 flew over the large crowd of marchers, some were holding signs and chanting.
By 6:30 p.m. the marchers had headed over to the highway entrance but were prevented from entering by dozens of Florida Highway Patrol troopers.
The FHP closed the Julia Tuttle Causeway in both directions due to the protest.
By 8:30 pm., the protestors had made it onto I-95. They were able to get on by knocking down a fence in the area.
CBS4’s Ty Russell said the protesters got off the highway shortly thereafter.
I-95 was closed in both directions as a precaution.
The protest has remained peaceful.
There is a curfew in effect in Miami-Dade County from 10 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Due to increasing unrest in parts of Miami-Dade County, I’ve ordered the curfew time to be moved back up to 10 p.m., effective tonight, Friday, June 5, 2020, until further notice. @MiamiDadeCounty @MiamiDadeEM @MiamiDadeBCC
— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) June 6, 2020
Earlier, the group was on North Miami Avenue and North 29th Street where they stopped traffic for a brief time then headed toward Midtown.
Miami Beach police had closed the westbound lanes of the Julia Tuttle Causeway (I-195) and the Florida Highway Patrol had closed the eastbound lanes.
TRAFFIC ALERT: Due to large crowds forming in the City of Miami. We are closing the westbound Julia Tuttle (I-195) Cswy. @FHPMiami is closing eastbound Julia TuttleCswy.
Alternate: Use the MacArthur Cswy to enter/exit Miami Beach.
— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) June 5, 2020
There have been daily protests locally and nationwide since the death of Floyd on May 25.
“The United States of America always comes up better. And I think that what we’re going through right now will make us better, better as a county, better as a state, better as a country,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
In Miami Beach, a group of demonstrators prepared signs for the demonstration in Wynwood.
They say it will be up to them to make change happen.
“It’s not about color. It’s about you, holding your fellow man back. That’s true racism is, if you don’t check the ignorance at the door,” said a demonstrator.
Kadijah Hill was seen in a viral video posted on BSO’s twitter this week praying with a deputy. She says prayer is powerful and it’s needed for change and unity.
“As I’m praying, I can feel his hands getting tighter as well. I was like ‘ok. I can see. He’s feeling it too.’ He was understanding where I’m coming from,” Hill said. “Everybody was like ‘oh my gosh. You’re praying with the enemy’. No. He’s not the enemy. The enemy is what’s going on in the world. The injustice. People burning down buildings. People are stealing. That’s the enemy.”
At an interfaith service at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, “It’s time to address long-standing injustice. We need you to help us continually remind people that what happened to George Floyd is unacceptable,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
The message from the protest is to keep going and keep fighting for change and get to the ballot box.