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Washington DC emergency rally against Zimmerman verdict

By B.J. Murphy

A participant in Egypt's protest movement speaks at DC rally, declares solidari

Washington, DC – Moments after receiving news that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges, the people of D.C. began mobilizing to rally for Trayvon Martin. By midnight of July 14, over 300 people had rallied together at 9th and U Street and began to march to the Columbia Heights Plaza, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.

Marching defiantly in the streets, as the lights and sound of police sirens surrounded the protesters, chants could be heard throughout D.C., “No justice, no peace!,” “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, because the power of the people don’t stop,” and “Tell the truth, stop the lies! Trayvon Martin didn't have to die!” Drivers honked in solidarity, held out their fists from windows and came out of their vehicles to shake the hands of the marchers.

Once reaching Columbia Heights Plaza, the protesters gathered around the fountain and spoke of their outrage and anger with the Zimmerman verdict. Speakers emphasized the necessity of advancing the fight against racism and discrimination, and spoke for carrying forward the struggle for the liberation of all oppressed peoples. They spoke of the urgency of continuing to organize to combat attacks on Black and Brown youth by the criminal injustice system and racist vigilantes like George Zimmerman.

A visiting Egyptian protester said, “My people in Egypt are out fighting for their rights. But this is happening in America? We’re all here, marching on the streets, fighting against the most violent form of oppression – racism! Only through fighting back will we find justice. Power to the people!”

Attempts at right-wing provocation occurred during the speeches, with a few reactionaries trying to argue that Zimmerman was in the right to kill Trayvon because of his response to the armed Zimmerman following him. Heated discussions were then pursued away from the crowd, ensuring their provocations didn’t distract the overall march.

A member of the Students for a Democratic Society spoke, saying, “This case never would have went to trial if it had not been for mass protests and the steadfast work of people all across the country who organized to demand that racist vigilante Zimmerman be held accountable for his crimes. The verdict in this case is outrageous and deplorable and it is painfully clear that the whole system is racist and that there can be no justice for Black and Brown people so long as white supremacy continues to exist. So we must continue to fight. We will not let children be murdered with impunity. Hope is in the struggle! Change is in the streets! Now is the time to organize!”

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