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22 Mar, 2021 02:04

Miami Beach extends state of emergency, curfew & road closures for 3 weeks as police struggle to contain wild parties (VIDEOS)

Miami Beach extends state of emergency, curfew & road closures for 3 weeks as police struggle to contain wild parties (VIDEOS)

The Miami Beach City Commission unanimously voted to extend the state of emergency in South Beach until April 12, following yet another night of wild partying, after the Florida governor declared the state an “oasis of freedom.”

The commission granted Interim City Manager Raul Aguila the authority to extend the restrictive measures for up to three more weeks if needed, following an emergency meeting on Sunday. The emergency curfew will remain in place for parts of South Beach until 6am Monday, and extended as authorities see fit, while inbound traffic will also remain restricted on the three main causeways connecting the island city with Miami.

After the crowd ignored the curfew order on Saturday evening, it took officers more than two hours to clear the area. At one point SWAT officers in bulletproof vests even fired pepper spray balls to break up the rowdy crowd, according to local media reports.

Photos and videos shared on social media in recent weeks show Miami's beaches jammed with people during the days and thousands of spring breakers packed together and dancing in the streets at night.

Authorities insist the unrest goes beyond unruly youths venting their frustration after a year of Covid-19 lockdowns. Rampant parties often escalate into fights, brawls, and vandalism, and police have reported over 1,000 arrests, including more than 350 felonies, and have seized over 80 firearms since February.

“This is not a typical spring break crowd… These are individuals coming into the city... to engage in lawlessness and anything goes party attitude,” Aguila argued before the commission.

It looked like a rock concert. All you could see was wall to wall people.

Massive crowds of college students and other vacationers on spring break have flocked to Florida in recent weeks, after Governor Ron DeSantis has touted his state's success in keeping businesses and schools open during the pandemic while keeping Covid-19 case and death rates somewhat comparable to those of states with strict lockdown measures, such as California. 

“Welcome to our oasis of freedom!” DeSantis said at the CPAC convention last month. Not only has he not imposed a statewide mask mandate, he has also banned cities and counties from punishing those flouting the regulations or refusing to wear a mask.

Also on rt.com Miami Beach imposes emergency curfew for entertainment district & closes bridges into city amid ‘spring break chaos’

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