With calls of “No justice, no peace!” rising above distant rumbles of thunder, dozens of protesters marched around the Ohio Statehouse this afternoon, part of coordinated nationwide protests over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of unarmed Florida teen-ager Trayvon Martin.
The rally that began outside the federal courthouse in Downtown was one of about 100 similar protests planned for today in cities across the country. The “Justice for Trayvon” rallies announced earlier this week by Rev. Al Sharpton, who is leading the call for Zimmerman to face federal charges in connection with Martin’s death.
Sharpton's National Action Network organized rallies and vigils from New York and Los Angeles to Wichita, Kan., and Atlanta, where people stood in the rain at the base of the federal courthouse, with traffic blocked on surrounding downtown streets.
A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges last weekend. His attorneys argued that he killed Martin in self-defense, but the case became a national flashpoint because the armed neighborhood watch volunteer had followed and shot Martin, who was carrying only a bag of Skittles candy and an iced tea.
Local demonstrator James Jones, one of several speakers in Columbus today, said he was tired of being told the Martin case was not “my business.” “He’s everybody’s business!” he shouted to the crowd of about 200.
He and other speakers issued a wider call to end all gun violence that they said claims too many young lives.
“Trayvon Martin is just one of many tragedies,” Jones said. “The shootings have got to stop.”
By Theodore Decker - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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