Calif. cities join national day of Martin protests
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Carrying signs and chanting for justice, demonstrators walked in a series of rallies underway Saturday across California – and the nation – a week after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Hundreds of people gathered in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities Saturday morning, to be followed by afternoon rallies in Sacramento, Oakland and Palmdale.
Religious and community leaders addressed crowds in Los Angeles, where chants of “no justice, no peace!” broke out occasionally during the peaceful gathering.
Signs carried condemnations of the justice system, with one in Los Angeles that read “This is Amerikkka: From Dred Scott to Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect.”
The protests are all part of what’s being called a “National Day of Action” calling for “Justice For Trayvon.” The event will be anchored by a rally led by the Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City and another in Miami.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke at a rally in New York.
National organizers say vigils are planned for 100 cities in objection to the July 13 verdict finding Zimmerman not guilty in the Sanford, Fla., killing of the 17-year-old Martin.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain at the time, said he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense during an altercation.
California rallies that began peacefully earlier in the week led in some cases to violence, vandalism and arrests.
In Oakland on Monday, protesters smashed downtown storefront windows and sprayed graffiti on businesses, and others hurled rocks and bottles at officers who threw tear gas in response to disperse the crowd. Nine people were arrested for crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.
The same night in Los Angeles, 14 people were arrested after about 150 split from a peaceful prayer rally at a park, running through the streets, jumping on cars, punching bystanders and raiding a Wal-Mart store. It was followed by a bigger police presence and a series of calm, peaceful rallies for the rest of the week.