Thousands protest across US
Outrage over the jury’s decision to clear George Zimmerman in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin poured into the streets across America on Monday. NAACP and protesters called for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted on Saturday in Martin’s February 2012 shooting death, unleashing a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. The justice department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the case. Meanwhile, president Barack Obama, along with religious and civil rights leaders, urged calm in hopes of ensuring peaceful demonstrations in the wake of a case that became an emotional flash point.
In New York City, hundreds of protesters marched into the Times Square on Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan’s streets to avoid police lines. Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting ‘Justice for Trayvon Martin!’ as they made their way from the Union Square, blocking traffic for more than an hour before moving on.In San Francisco and Los Angeles, where an earlier protest was dispersed with beanbag rounds, police closed streets as protesters marched Sunday to condemn Zimmerman’s acquittal.
Rand Powdrill of San Leandro said he came to the San Francisco march with about 400 others to ‘protest the execution of an innocent black teenager.’ ‘If our voices can’t be heard, then this is just going to keep going on,’ he said. Earlier, at Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts, the same thing Martin wore on the night he was shot, in a show of solidarity. At a youth service in Sanford, where the trial was held, teens wearing shirts displaying Martin’s picture wiped away tears during a sermon at a church.
About 200 people turned out for a rally in downtown Chicago, saying the verdict was symbolic of lingering racism in the USProtesters also gathered in Philadelphia and Washington DC along with a host of other cities. In Miami, more than 200 people gathered for a vigil. ‘You can’t justify murder,’ read one poster.