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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hundreds march on Atlanta streets to demand justice for Trayvon Martin

Hundreds of protesters marched from West End Park to the heart of Downtown, blocking Peachtree Street
  • Joeff Davis
  • Hundreds of protesters marched from West End Park to the heart of Downtown, blocking Peachtree Street

Hundreds of people throughout Atlanta on Sunday gathered to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

Around 7 p.m., hundreds of protesters who'd met in West End Park left the southwest Atlanta greenspace and marched on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard and Northside Drive, before stopping and blocking traffic on Peachtree Street. The diverse group, which included families, activists, and students, chanted "Justice for Trayvon," hoisted banners, and banged drums while slowing traffic to a crawl.

"People want justice if someone can stalk and confront and kill someone," said Ron Allen of the Georgia Student Justice Alliance, and one of the organizers of the West End rally. "Kill a teenager and not be found guilty of anything, that is unjust. What we are demanding of our political system, judicial system, our economic system, we are demanding justice and fairness."

A heavy rain slowed the group near the Georgia Dome, but many continued past the CNN Center toward Woodruff Park before ultimately corking the intersection of Peachtree Street and Andrew Young International Boulevard. (Check out my Twitter feed for some photos and screenshots of the demonstration.)

Earlier today, nearly 100 people marched from Five Points MARTA station to Centennial Olympic Park. Morehouse College graduates Brandon "Lorencio" Connor and Shan Holder, organized the event to give people the opportunity to express their disappointment with the Florida jury's verdict and demand change.

"We are tired of this happening to people," Connor said into a megaphone across the street from the CNN Center. "We will scream, we will shout until justice has been served. No longer will we sit behind our computers. We won't text about it, tweet about it. We are here!"

Organizers and speakers also urged the crowd to sign an NAACP petition calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a federal lawsuit against Zimmerman. (The petition is currently inaccessible because it was overwhelmed by possible signers.)

Roughly 50 demonstrators also marched along Auburn and Edgewood Avenues shortly after the not guilty verdict was announced.

Updates - and more photos from this afternoon's protest - to come. Another protest is planned for tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Atlanta University Center. We've heard it's along James P. Brawley Drive but are looking for confirmation (and a more exact location).

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