'We are all Trayvon Martin': 100 US protests at acquittal of black teenager's killer

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Campaigners call for lethal-force law reform as 100 vigils and demonstrations are held for the teen shot dead after buying sweets

Around 100 vigils and demonstrations for Trayvon Martin, the black teenager killed in Florida when he was shot on his way home from buying a bag of sweets, were held across the US in protest at the acquittal of the man who pulled the trigger.

In New York, the 17-year-old victim’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told crowds outside the Rev Al Sharpton’s offices in Harlem: “Today it was my son, tomorrow it might be yours. Trayvon is not here to speak [for] himself. It’s very important as parents, godparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that you speak up for your children. Trayvon was a child ... As I sat in the court room, it made me feel like they were talking about another man. It wasn’t. He was a child,” she said.

Husband and wife music stars Jay-Z and Beyoncé met Ms Fulton at the demonstration, where posters bore the words: “Boycott Florida”.

Further demonstrations took place in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, with campaigners calling for a reform of “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow lethal force to be used in self-defence.

The protests marked a week since a jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Sanford, Florida. The neighbourhood-watch volunteer argued that he shot the teenager last February in self-defence having suspected he was a burglar.

It was later discovered the dead teenager had only been carrying a can of fizzy drink and some Skittles bought from a nearby store. He died almost instantly after being shot at point-blank range following an altercation at a gated community which Zimmerman was patrolling.

The jury voted unanimously to acquit Mr Zimmerman on the basis that he had fired the gun believing his life was in danger. The case has sparked national debates about race, civil rights and gun ownership.

The Rev Sharpton told yesterday’s rally: “Jay-Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op. Beyoncé put a beautiful message up on Instagram. Jay-Z told me: ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension. The laws must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children.”

In Miami, the crowds sang the civil-rights song “We Shall Overcome” as they gathered around Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father.

He said: “It sends a message to the nation that we’re not going to sit back and let our children be killed and don’t say anything about it... I vowed to Trayvon, when he was lying in his casket, that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him ... Senseless violence is a disease and we as a people have the cure, we just need to come together.”

In a surprise intervention on Friday, President Barack Obama made reference in a press conference to the case. “A lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush,” he said. “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario ... both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

He called for any demonstrations to remain peaceful, warning violence would “dishonour what happened to Trayvon Martin”.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Travel
travel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel