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Miami Beach unveils curfew due to uncontrollable crowds

Miami Beach unveils curfew due to uncontrollable crowds”

A city known for its party atmosphere is now struggling to control "particularly rowdy" crowds during the annual spring break season.

"When hundreds of people are running through the streets panicked, you realize that's not something that a police force can control", he said during a commission meeting Sunday.

"These crowds are in the thousands", interim City Manager Raul Aguila told the Daily Beast.

Police in Miami Beach said early Sunday that they arrested at least a dozen people following the start of the curfew.

Authorities will enforce an 8 p.m. curfew each night beginning Saturday, and major roads into the city will close from 9 p.m.to 5 a.m. but for one lane.

"Nothing we have done to this point to break up crowds has been because of COVID", the chief told the Miami Herald Sunday afternoon.

The moves come after police have repeatedly clashed with partiers while attempting to break up large crowds, sometimes firing pepper balls.

People enjoy themselves along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida.

The emergency order caused confusion, and defiance, in some cases.

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Videos flooded social media during that time as rebellious - but largely nonviolent - crowds refused to disperse.

Videos shared on social media showed some standing among the masses to throw out money - while another showed women twerking atop cars long after the curfew was supposedly enforced.

The Miami Beach Police Department made 163 arrests over seven days, spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez told USA TODAY on Monday.

"People just need to go", he said. "And we can't have a policy of simply hoping it's not lit".

People watch as City of Miami Beach Police officers arrest several males on Ocean Drive and 10th Street as spring break has officially begun, in Miami Beach, Fla., on February 20, 2021. The city has also spent its biggest national advertising campaign in 20 years because of this.

At the same time, local officials banned alcohol from the beach, along with all alcohol sales after 10pm in an effort to curb partying.

The city even sent cellphone text messages to tourists warning, "Vacation Responsibly or Be Arrested".

The coronavirus pandemic has added another layer to spring break concerns. "Otherwise, you might as well just stay home and save yourself the court costs", the message read.

Miami Beach nightlife has never been for the faint of heart, but local officials and residents have noticed the particular aggressiveness of this spring's revelers during the ongoing pandemic. Florida has no statewide mask rules, limits on capacity or other such restrictions, courtesy of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis's pro-business stance. To combat that surge, the city began implementing a Major Event Plan a few years back that included altering the direction of some streets, having corrections staffers on site to process arrests and having most officers work during the busiest hours.



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