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Harry Belafonte rallies 'stand your ground' protesters

July 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 27 (UPI) -- Singer Harry Belafonte urged demonstrators at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee to keep pressing for a review of the state's stand your ground law.

Belafonte, a longtime civil rights advocate, told the students -- who call themselves the Dream Defenders -- their demand for a special session of the state legislature would gain momentum as long as Gov. Rick Scott refuses to go along.

"If they reject you, then the world will pay attention to what's happening to you," Belafonte said.

"It could mean tens of thousand of people will join you," he said. "That's not good for tourism."

Stand your ground has been a hot political topic in Florida since neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot black teenager Trayvon Martin during an encounter in a Sanford, Fla., gated community in February 2012. Zimmerman claimed he shot the unarmed teen in self defense and was acquitted this month at his second-degree murder trial.

The Dream Defenders have vowed to remain on the Florida Capitol grounds in Tallahassee until Scott calls a special session to address the law as well as racial profiling and the number of young adults in prison.

An estimated 250 protesters took part in a rally Friday outside Scott's office. The Miami Herald said about 100 people were expected to camp out at the Capitol over the weekend.

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