- Miami Beach police threw pepper balls at an unruly spring break crowd on Saturday, WPLG reported.
- The city declared a state of emergency and set a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Saturday.
- The crowds were mostly maskless and out past the city’s curfew.
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Police in Miami Beach shot pepper balls at spring break crowds that refused to abide by the city’s 8 p.m. curfew on Saturday night, local outlet WPLG reported.
Earlier on Saturday, the city of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and set a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting that night, in response to the thousands of people who had traveled to the popular spring break destination.
Officials said Sunday the measures will remain in place for Thursday to Sunday until April 11, when the spring break crowds thin, The Washington Post reported.
“I have personally had trouble even sleeping at night, worrying about what’s going to happen in the city,” Mayor Dan Gelber said Sunday, according to The Post. “And that shouldn’t be the state of any mayor or any commissioner or any manager or any police chief.”
Police arrested at least a dozen people on Saturday after hundreds of mostly maskless tourists stayed out past the curfew, CNN reported.
Hours after the curfew was announced and went into place people were still roaming around, WPLG reported.
“At night there is no question that it became a little out of control or a lot out of control,” Gelber told the outlet.
Footage of the night from WPLG shows a stampede unfolding after police threw pepper balls into the large crowd.
In a tweet, police said they arrested over 50 people since Friday. This comes after over 100 people were arrested last weekend, as police clamped down on spring breakers.
Two police officers were injured after a large unruly crowd surrounded officers who were making an arrest last Friday. Police also used pepper balls in that instance.
While Florida lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in September, the city of Miami Beach still mandates that people wear face coverings in public.
Miami Beach spokeswoman Veronica Payssé told CNN last week that the state does not allow the city to fine those who violate mask orders, which she said has made it harder for police to patrol the destination.
Florida hit a new pandemic milestone of 2 million coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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