NEW YORK CITY: Thousands protested in cities across the US Sunday against the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, a day after his trial for killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin ended in Florida.

Demonstrators rallied noisily, but peacefully, in US cities including New York, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.

In Los Angeles, police in riot gear deployed along Hollywood Boulevard, but they were not needed as the rally proceeded without incident. But about 150 protesters blocked traffic on a freeway elsewhere in the city, local media reported.

In the pre-dawn hours demonstrators smashed windows and vandalized cars in Oakland, California.

Spontaneous marches were also held in Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta and the Florida state capital Tallahassee. The most numerous rally Sunday was in New York City, where several thousand -- including families with children -- marched to Times Square under the watchful eye of police.

Many in the multi-racial crowd brandished signs bearing a portrait of Martin, while some, despite sweltering July heat, wore “hoodie” sweatshirts, as the 17-year-old did the night he was killed in February 2012.

“I am appalled,” said Carli VanVoorhis, a 21-year-old hairdresser.

“The man was armed, the kid was not, and the man with the gun got away,” she said. “If we say it was not a racial issue, we would be lying.”

The case has, since the beginning, pitted those who belive that Zimmerman, a 29-year-old Hispanic neighborhood watchman, killed Martin in self-defense, and those who believe it was a murder sparked by racist assumptions.

According to Florida's controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, people who fear for their lives can use deadly force to defend themselves without having to flee a confrontation. Other states, including Texas, have similar rules.

The killing also resonated among those calling for stricter gun laws like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who slammed what he called “shoot-first laws.”Sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact has long been crystal clear: 'shoot first' laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

He reiterated his call to eliminate such laws.

“The tragic death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed child attempting to walk home from the store, will continue to drive our efforts.”

More From This Section

At least 58 killed in attack on UN base in South Sudan: UN

Armed mob forced entry into the site and opened fire on the internally displaced persons sheltering inside the UN base.

Taliban inmates break out of Afghan prison

Insurgents escaped using weapons smuggled into the facility in a jailbreak that killed three police guards.

Boat capsizes in Indonesia; seven dead, 30 rescued

Police say a boat loaded with people in a Good Friday procession capsized in Indonesia killing at least seven people.

India's election commission lifts ban on top Modi aide

Election commission lifts a ban on Modi's top aide, who threatened to hobble his efforts to win votes in Uttar Pradesh.


Comments are closed.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Poll
From The Newspaper
Tweets