ORLANDO, Fla. — Update: At least six people were arrested after a protest spurred by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota moved onto the 408, closing lanes, Orlando police said.
Officers will maintain a presence throughout the city and monitor activity overnight, police said.
Read our earlier version here:
Protesters have gathered in downtown Orlando and throughout Orange County, including on major roadways and at the house owned by the former police officer who is charged in the murder of George Floyd.
The Florida Highway Patrol said protesters at some point made their way onto State Road 408. All eastbound and westbound lanes are blocked at Orange Blossom Trail.
Traffic began moving again on the 408 around 8:10 p.m., but the exit ramp to Orange Blossom Trail remained closed.
Orlando police and Florida state troopers used tear gas on the 408 to force dozens of protesters off the expressway.
“At one point, while on the 408, all of the participants were east and westbound traffic,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said in a statement that was posted on twitter. “Officers issued an order for the crowd to disperse. Unfortunately, some opted to throw rocks and bottles at officers.”
That forced officers to deploy “a chemical agent," Rolon said.
A heavy downpour mixed with thunder and lightning caused the leave the area.
“What we do ask is that, if anyone is going to exercise their voice what we believe is a proper time to voice their opinion on matters thare are of importance to our nation, to do so peacefully,” Rolon said.
Protests were spurred throughout the nation around the nation after a video showed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd before the unarmed black man died.
Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.
Orlando police officers said they are managing traffic to keep demonstrators safe in downtown and along part of Interstate 4.
Some protesters gathered at the Pulse Memorial then eventually headed to Lake Eola for another demonstration.
Others marched all the way to City Hall, screaming Floyd’s name and chanting “No justice, no peace!”
The groups merged at the courthouse before half went home and half went to police headquarters to air their frustration at a large group of police.
“'ll say this: If everything was done decent and in order, we wouldn’t have none of these riots, you know we wouldn’t have none of these, we wouldn’t have none of this,” one protester said.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted his thoughts on the local demonstrations.
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