ATLANTA - Rallies are taking place in metro Atlanta, and across the nation, in a push for civil rights charges against a former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted of murder.
George Zimmerman was cleared last week of all charges in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The 29-year-old has maintained it was an act of self-defense. Emotions are running high in the aftermath of the verdict, with some calling for reassessments of self-defense laws.
On Saturday, Channel 2’s Amanda Cook was with protesters who rallied outside the Russell Federal Building on Spring Street in downtown Atlanta. Thousands of people were in attendance.
"(Martin) was profiled. That's just my opinion. He was profiled, like a lot of our African American men. He was singled out. It is a travesty. It’s sad, not just for all African Americans, but for all colors," Yolanda Bryant-Burch told Cook.
Civil rights leaders said they want the Travyon Martin Vigil and Rally to remain peaceful. Atlanta police officers and law enforcement officials from other jurisdictions were on hand just in case.
The list of speakers includes Martin Luther King III and Rev. Bernice King. Grammy-award winning artist Jennifer Holiday is also performing.
It’s one of several rallies taking place in metro Atlanta. There’s another one at the SCLC National Headquarters in Atlanta and one in Floyd County spearheaded by the region’s NAACP chapter.