People march in Washington on July 19, 2013 during a demonstration against the acquittal of George Zimmermann in the killing of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. (AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm)
Rallies throughout America are scheduled outside federal buildings on Saturday to protest a Florida jury’s decision last week to find neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman not guilty of shooting dead unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
It is expected that Trayvon Martin’s parents will join the protests organized by the veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton to push the US Justice Department to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.
Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton will lead the Saturday rally along with Sharpton just outside police headquarters in New York.
Martin’s father is to lead the demonstration in Miami, where Trayvon lived with his mother and older brother.
Reverend Al Sharpton said the protests are planned for more than 100 cities throughout America and expressed hope that they would be peaceful. Earlier this week, protests against the ruling in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay turned violent, resulting in a number of arrests.
Trayvon Martin was shot dead over a year ago by Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder, stating that he racially profiled the unarmed teen and assumed he was a criminal when he saw him walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida. They further claimed that Zimmerman tracked the teenager down and started the fight that led to the shooting.
On July 13, Zimmerman, whose voter registration record listed him as hispanic, was acquitted of all charges relating to the fatal shooting of the black teen by a panel of six women jurors. The former neighborhood watch volunteer could have been sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder or up to 30 years for manslaughter if he was found guilty.
Zimmerman’s acquittal sparked nationwide protests last weekend as thousands took to the streets in major American cities protesting against the verdict and related issues regarding race, profiling and vigilantism.
Federal prosecutors are pursuing an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated civil rights laws, but civil rights experts doubt new charges are likely.
On Thursday Florida Governor Rick Scott met with sit-in demonstrators outside his office in Tallahassee. He said he supports the Stand Your Ground law and has no intention of convening a special legislative session to change the self-defense statute that have been adopted in 30 states.
On Friday American President Barack Obama warned the public against violence while protesting.
He agreed that “There is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws,” and that “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario … both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”
“Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago,” Obama said.
- ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies set for 100 cities (news.yahoo.com)
- ‘Justice for Trayvon’ Rallies Set for 100 Cities (abcnews.go.com)
- Tampa joins Sharpton’s effort with Saturday rally for Trayvon Martin (TBO.com)
- ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies set for 100 cities, including St. Louis (kmov.com)
- Indy rally for Trayvon Martin Sat. (wishtv.com)
- ‘Justice for Trayvon’ vigil set for tomorrow (newsday.com)
- Rallies planned in 100 cities to urge ‘justice for Trayvon’ Martin (cnn.com)
- Miami To Take Part In “Justice For Trayvon” 100 City Rally (miami.cbslocal.com)
- Take Action: Join the Trayvon Martin Protest in Houston on Saturday (myhoustonmajic.com)
- ‘Justice for Trayvon’ rallies set for 100 cities (cnsnews.com)