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Fort Lauderdale Quiet After Rally For Change Ends In Unrest, Vandalism, & State Of Emergency

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Some businesses in Fort Lauderdale are boarding up Monday night, worried there could be more trouble with protesters or outside instigators just like Sunday night.

Sunday began as a peaceful protest as members of Black Lives Matter and Dream Defenders, were rallying downtown Fort Lauderdale, joining others around the country protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"I'm just here for peace, a change," said one man.

But shortly after the rally ended, police say some new people arrived, joining those still there.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said there were some in the crowd looking for trouble.

"We saw that there were people who arrived with fireworks, arrived here with gas masks, arrived here with concrete blocks.  They came to rumble," the Mayor said.  "This was not part of the event."

At one point police deployed tear gas, trying to get the crowd to leave.  Then they ordered them to go. On a bullhorn an officer ordered, "Disperse.  If you do not do so you will be arrested," he said.

Many did leave, heading off into several different directions, some went to Las Olas Blvd where businesses were targeted.

Surveillance video shows a rock going into a beauty salon. Owner Andi Katon said, "It looks like somebody threw a rock then took a hammer to my window."

Several businesses were hit on Las Olas leaving shattered glass and boarded up windows.

Another group headed to Himmsarshee Village, doing the same thing there.

Members of the Florida National Guard were deployed to keep watch on those businesses.

Rodney Ely owns the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast house.

"I was in here when the stone we being hurled through," he said.

Blocks of concrete came through his windows.

"I've always tried to better my community, I've always stood up where I need to stand up," he said. "When you have that come at you it's really emotionally challenging."

Even the Children's Museum of Science and Discovery was hit.

The mayor said there were more plans for damage, but those were foiled through police intelligence.

"About 70 people swarmed the Galleria, police officer officers surrounded the mall. They escaped knowing they were going to be trapped in there by our police. They're not here for peaceful justice, they're here to wreak havoc," Mayor Trantalis said.

A curfew remains in effect for Broward County.  It begins at 9:00 p.m. and ends at 6:00 a.m.


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