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Miami Beach sets curfew to curb spring break violence

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(MIAMI BEACH, Fla.) -- For the second straight year, Miami Beach is imposing a curfew on thousands of spring break revelers following a violent weekend in which shootings left multiple people injured on the city's famed main drag.

Miami Beach city leaders declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. this weekend.

"We just simply cannot have people coming to our city and have to worry about being shot," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said during a news conference Monday.

The move comes on the heels of two shootings that erupted on Ocean Drive on Sunday and early Monday morning, leaving five people injured, police said.

"We don't want spring break here, but they keep coming," Gelber said.

Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said that prior to the curfew being announced, his department had taken steps to curb violence by flooding the streets with officers and focusing on confiscating guns from criminals.

"What I saw this year made me look at it and almost cringe," Clements said. "No matter how much presence that you have out there ... really for the most part, the prevailing sentiment is that it doesn't deter the criminal activity."

In March 2021, Miami Beach officials declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew due to what they described as "overwhelming" spring break crowds. Crowds in Miami Beach were so large and unruly last year that Miami Beach police officers resorted to using pepper balls to disperse crowds near Ocean Drive.

Two police officers were also injured last year while taking a suspect into custody.

This year's curfew will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and last until 6 a.m. Friday. The curfew will also be imposed on Saturday and Sunday.

Restaurants and bars will also be forced to close at midnight, and a Miami Beach Live concert by Bernadette Peters scheduled for Saturday evening at the city's Lummus Park has been canceled.

Some restaurant and bar owners were disappointed by the curfew.

"We're devastated," Joel Stedman, owner of the Twist nightclub in Miami Beach, told ABC affiliate station WPLG-TV in Miami. "We have tourists coming from all over the world to visit our amazing nightlife, and they're going to be greeted with going home at midnight."

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