Police in Miami Beach have used SWAT teams to try and enforce an emergency curfew against out-of-control Spring Break revellers as the celebrations spiralled out of control.
At one point over the weekend a wild stampede was sparked when police fired pepper spray at a crowd of partygoers.
Videos on social media and local media showed thousands of revellers defying both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Florida beach town’s curfew after it started at 8pm on Saturday.
Even as special weapons and tactics teams rolled in to block the streets and used piercing sound cannons to try to clear the completely packed streets, the parties continue to rage for hours, a reporter for the Daily Beast noted from the scene.
Videos shared on social media showed some standing among the masses to throw out money, while another showed women twerking on tops of cars, long after the curfew was supposedly enforced.
At least one woman climbed on top of a police vehicle to dance provocatively, the Miami Herald noted.
Police ultimately fired pepper spray at the crowd, with wild videos showing a mad stampede in the still-packed crowd.
Several people were knocked to the ground — including one man who expertly held a Hennessy cognac bottle to protect it from smashing.
It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was injured.
The streets were not fully cleared until close to midnight on Saturday — a full four hours after the curfew started, the Miami Herald said.
Miami Beach police said last weekend, there were about 100 arrests and two officers were injured due to unruly crowds. Around two dozen people were arrested on Thursday and about 12 arrested on Friday, CNN reported.
Local officials enforced the curfew after mass fighting and a rise in crime among the crowds of spring breakers who are also defying coronavirus-safety protocols, they said.
Miami Beach City’s interim city manager Raul Aguila declared a state of emergency.
“These crowds are in the thousands,” Mr Aguila told the Herald. “We’re at capacity.”
But the curfew will make no difference, several visitors told the Daily Beast.
“It’s crazy out here,” Q Johnson, a 20-year-old student at Manhattan College in New York, said.
“It’s lit. It’s chaotic … Too many m****r f*****s out here being lawless.”
He insisted he was not worried about the pandemic, saying: “We’re good. We’re young.”
University of Illinois senior Jeb Jones, 24, said the “low point” was merely “waiting in line to get into McDonald’s.”
“The curfew is not gonna stop me,” he said. “We will continue to rage. The bars are great.”
Meanwhile a popular Miami Beach party spot, the Clevelander Hotel, announced it was up shop until at least next weekend due to the hordes of young people descending on Miami Beach.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he didn’t “blame (the owners) for wanting to close” because it felt “like this city is under a level of siege.”