TAMPA, Fla. — It was a busy night for Tampa police and the Florida Highway Patrol Tuesday as demonstrators expressing support for the Cuban people shut down busy intersections and protested deep into the night.
Hundreds of people assembled at Al Lopez Park around 4 p.m. before moving to nearby intersections an hour later.
Two big groups of protestors merged together at Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Drive late Tuesday afternoon and stayed for hours, interrupting traffic as they marched, chanted, waved flags and shouted support for the people of Cuba.
The crowds demonstrated for hours despite the steady rain that turned stormy at times.
As the crowd began to block traffic, police officers intervened.
What You Need To Know
- For a second straight day, crowds gathered in Tampa streets to call for freedom and democracy in Cuba
- MONDAY STORY: Cuba protests extend to Tampa
- Previous story: Tuesday night's demonstrations in Tampa
- PODCAST: Is it time for a new approach to U.S.-Cuba relations?
After officers ordered the crowd to disperse, they marched south, nearly blocking the entrance ramp to Interstate 275.
About 30 Florida Highway Patrol troopers helped break-up the crowd.
At least three people were arrested for resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer. During a scuffle, a trooper suffered a broken ankle and lacerations to his arms and face.
Cubans have taken to the streets in the communist nation since Sunday to air grievances about poor economic conditions and other complaints.
Governor Ron DeSantis talked about the protests Tuesday, before the demonstration in Tampa last night.
"They are revolting against a corrupt communist dictatorship that has ruled this island with an iron fist for over 60 years,” Gov. DeSantis said. "That is fundamentally different than what we saw last summer where people were burning down buildings."
The governor there clearly responding to the Anti-Riot bill he signed earlier this year. While Gov. DeSantis has expressed his support for the cause, he did ask that protests remain peaceful.
But, as in Tampa, and in Orlando and Miami, some demonstrators did cause major disruption by blocking roadways.
Which is against Florida law.
Meanwhile in Cuba, at least one person has been reported dead and more than 100 others have been arrested or reported missing
And as the conflict in Cuba intensifies, there has been few new images out of the island nation, where internet access has been cut.
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