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US unites to demand ‘Justice for Trayvon’

One week after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, people gathered for nationwide rallies on Saturday to press for changes to self-defense laws and for federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader.
The Florida case has become a flashpoint in separate but converging national debates over self-defense, guns, and race relations. Zimmerman, who successfully claimed that he was protecting himself when he shot Martin, identifies himself as Hispanic. Martin was black.

The National Action Network, led by the Reverend Al Sharpton, a prominent civil rights activist, organised the ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies and vigils outside federal buildings in at least 101 cities: from New York and Los Angeles to Wichita, Kansas, and Atlanta, where people stood in the rain at the base of the federal courthouse, with traffic blocked on surrounding downtown streets.
Chants rang out across the rallies.

‘Justice! Justice! Justice! ... Now! Now! Now!’ Many also sang hymns, prayed and held hands. And plenty of participants carried signs: ‘Who’s next?’ ‘I am Trayvon Martin.’ `’Enough Is Enough.’ ‘It’s personal,’ said Cincinnati resident Chris Donegan, whose 11-year-old son wore a black hoodie to the rally, as Martin was wearing when he was fatally shot. ‘Anybody who is black with kids, Trayvon Martin became our son.’

Most rallies began at noontime. In New York, hundreds of people including music superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce, as well as Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton gathered in the heat. Fulton told the crowd she was determined to fight for societal and legal changes needed to ensure that black youths are no longer viewed with suspicion.
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