Protesters call for justice for Martin

March 31, 2012 at 7:57 PM
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SANFORD, Fla., March 31 (UPI) -- The city of Sanford, Fla., was the site of a massive rally Saturday with thousands of people voicing outrage over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The NAACP organized the march that dominated a mile of 13th Street, cutting across the heart of one of Florida's oldest black communities. Chants of "We want an arrest. Shot in the chest" rang out as the marchers headed to the Sanford Police Department. Marchers held up likenesses of the slain 17-year-old Miami teenager and wore shirts proclaiming, "I am Trayvon Martin."

Upon arrival, a rally took shape, where the Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent rights activist, decried the "American paradox that we can put a black man in the White House but we can't walk a black child through a gated area in Sanford, Fla."

The Orlando Sentinel reported NAACP youth leader Brenden Mitchell delivered a fiery, emotional speech.

"I am 17 years old. I'm a high school student. I'm a young black man," Mitchell shouted. "I could be the next Trayvon Martin."

Protesters called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old man of white and Latino heritage who says he shot and killed Martin in self-defense Feb. 26 while the unarmed teen was walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch group who had been out patrolling his gated community when he came upon Martin, has been in hiding and has not been charged.

Investigation of the case has been assigned to an independent prosecutor and the U.S. Justice Department has initiated its own probe.

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