TAMPA, Fla. — Demonstrators in support of the Cuban people marched along major roadways in Tampa and, at one point, attempted to get onto Interstate 275.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was injured while interacting with the crowd, according to the Tampa Police Department. FHP says the trooper had cuts on his arms and face as well as a broken ankle. The trooper was taken to the hospital to be treated, according to FHP.
Three people were arrested, with two charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.
The crowd of people want others to recognize the situation on the island nation, where citizens have been protesting against the government amid the coronavirus pandemic on top of a worsening economic crisis, 10 Tampa Bay's Angelina Salcedo reports.
The crowd blocked traffic for a time Tuesday afternoon at N. Dale Mabry Highway and W. Columbus Drive before moving to the interstate, forcing roadway closures in the area. The crowd chanted at times, "Si Cuba está en la calle, Tampa también,” which means if Cuba is in the streets, Tampa is too, Salcedo reported.
Many people were seen waving Cuban flags as Tampa Police Department officers helped control traffic. Officers ultimately asked people to leave the interstate area.
The protests in Tampa Bay join those in Orlando, Miami and elsewhere since the weekend. According to The Associated Press, many people took to the streets in Cuba to protest food shortages, high prices and substandard health conditions.
President Joe Biden on Monday praised the protestors.
Scroll below to see how the events played out Tuesday afternoon and evening in Tampa.
Three people were arrested as police officers and Florida Highway Patrol troopers tried to move the crowd of Cuba demonstrators away from Interstate 275, the Tampa Police Department said in a news release.
One trooper was hurt, police said.
Maikel Vasquez-Pico, 39, and Julian Rodriguez-Rodriguez, 30, were arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer in addition to resisting without violence, police said. Evelio Ramirez-Carrasco, 34, was arrested on a charge of resisting without violence.
Police said the crowd of people tried to take over the exit ramp at northbound I-275 just before 7 p.m. About a half-hour later, part of the group began moving back to Al Lopez Park while others moved along Dale Mabry Highway.
The crowd at the park dispersed after 9:30 p.m.
"The Tampa Police Department continues to support everyone's 1st Amendment right for free speech. We will continue to work with groups who want to have their voices heard in a safe and secure manner," Tampa police said in a statement.
Tampa police are asking the crowd to disperse from the area after they began blocking an off-ramp to Interstate 275.
What other people are reading right now:
- Oops: Stanley Cup damaged during Lightning championship celebration
- Looking to buy a home right now? Here are 5 tips from a housing expert.
- New video released as 5 people from the Tampa Bay area are linked to Capitol riot
- Protesters shut down highway in S. Florida in support of Cuban people; demonstrators march in Tampa
- When will it go away? Answers to FAQs about red tide
- A Frank Conversation: New podcast explores race, religion, politics and more
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter