Several thousand march peacefully to protest Trayvon Martin verdict
On a day too hot for hoodies, the protestors packed into Government Plaza on Monday night instead showed their solidarity with Trayvon Martin through black armbands, loud chants, and homemade posters. "No justice, no peace," was a recurring chorus, and attendees walked through the throng wearing t-shirts that read, "Guilty: Young. Black. Male," and buttons stamped with, "Minnesotans Against Being Shot."
The crowd, several thousand strong, had gathered not only to protest the Saturday acquittal of Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, but also a closer-to-home sign of what many deemed racial injustice: The death of 22-year-old Terrance Franklin in a shooting with Minneapolis Police this May, about which details are still emerging. Throughout the two-hour rally and march, the names Trayvon and Terrance were intertwined.
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For the first hour, speaker after speaker, from youth leaders to reverends to Brother Ali,
stepped up to the microphone on the plaza steps and related spoken word
poetry, speeches about moving forward, and personal stories. Trayvon
Martin is my son, one woman said. A man described the experience of
being Tasered by police in north Minneapolis.
They also made their demands known. First: That the U.S. Department of Justice file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman (a call also being made by the NAACP, though experts say the move would be difficult). Second: That Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman prosecute Lucas Peterson, the Minneapolis police officer who shot Terrance Franklin. Third: For "an end to the criminalization of youth of color."
After the last speaker stepped down, the crowd began to move. From the Government Plaza, they crossed Nicollet Mall and continued onto Hennepin, as traffic honked in support.
Both the rally and the march went off without conflict. On Monday afternoon, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau urged the protestors to remain "vocal not violent," and they did just that. Police spokesperson William Palmer says that officers present at the event did not intervene.
By Tuesday morning, a string of yellow graffiti -- "MPD murdered Terrance Franklin" -- at the back corner of Government Plaza was the only sign that the protestors had been there.
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