TAMPA — Hundreds gathered at Curtis Hixon Park Thursday afternoon for what would become a mobile demonstration that wound its way through Tampa.
What You Need To Know
- Police dispersed protesters when they attempted to march to Armature Works
- After return to Curtis Hixon, organizers asked protesters to head home
- Some protesters affected by tear gas
When the demonstration attempted to march towards Armature Works near the highway, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
"Even though we've been very peaceful, they still demonstrated non-peaceful habits by throwing tear gas, by throwing pepper spray," said Yesha Patel, who took part in Thursday's protest.
Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg protesters were out for a fifth night in a row.
Roads were closed periodically through the evening as the crowd marched peacefully through the area. The group made it clear they were not affiliated with the man who is accused of being aggressive with police last night and who police say was carrying a gun without a permit.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said he's learned a lot from conversations had with protesters this week.
"We always go to the same neighborhood block parties, so now we’re going to say, 'hey if you’re having something tonight, let’s go to that location.' So we’re learning from those things,” Holloway said.
Protests continue to rock cities across the country as people demonstrate over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, leading to Floyd's death.
But after dark, police said some in the group began shooting off incendiary devices.
By the time the group reached police headquarters, police said the crowd was out of control. Police then announced an unlawful assembly and minutes later fired smoke bombs into the crowd.
Some protesters left while others began launching fireworks back at police.
Still, despite the continued protests, St. Petersburg officials have not called for or imposed a nighttime curfew.
DOZENS ARRESTED IN TAMPA
Meanwhile in Tampa, a couple of officers suffered minor injuries and some patrol cars were damaged in what became a chaotic scene near Gaslight Park late Tuesday.
What started as a peaceful protest in Tampa turned violent as crowds grew, according to Bay News 9's partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa police were more aggressive Tuesday night with the crowds, using smoke bombs, pepper spray and some rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
Also, hundreds of people conducted a peaceful march in Riverview that at one point spilled out onto US 301.
"We are out here to show love and support and to support the movement," said protester Courtney Ruffin. "We feel like we have to get out and do something. What happened to George Floyd is not something that we should continue to stand for."