MIAMI – Dozens of protesters met Friday afternoon at the Torch of Friendship at Bayfront Park and marched for hours through downtown Miami and Brickell.
About 7:45 p.m., the protesters marched on Interstate 95′s southbound ramp from Miami Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.
About 8 p.m., there was a standoff between protesters and Florida Highway Patrol troopers who were wearing riot gear. Dozens of Miami police officers and two SWAT team vehicles arrived before protesters retreated without incident about 8:20 p.m.
Before marching on I-95 and blocking the Brickell Avenue Bridge, they marched peacefully to the Miami-Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami. Some of their chants included “Defund the police!”
As a precaution, Florida Highway Patrol troopers closed I-95 in both directions from Florida State Road 112 to U.S. 1. They also closed Interstate 395′s eastbound lanes in downtown Miami.
Protesters marched to Brickell City Center and to Brickell Avenue and Fifth Street.
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina asked businesses to close early amid the ongoing protest that FBI Miami Special Agents feared could escalate into violence.
Federal agents, Colina and Miami City Mayor Francis Suarez are on high alert over threats of vandalism on social media.