Mar 26, 2012
Police expect as many as 10,000 people to attend a rally in Sanford, Florida today, on the one-month anniversary of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The national anger over the shooting of Martin, who was shot and killed while walking home from a store where he purchased candy and tea, continues to escalate. Activists are attempting to pressure law enforcement authorities to arrest and prosecute George Zimmerman, who admits to shooting Martin but claims it was in self-defense. To date, no arrests have been made in relation to the fatal shooting.
The incident has brought national attention to Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which critics say enables violent criminals to get away with murder. The shooting has also brought increased attention to the role race plays in violent crime.
Other events are expected to take place across the country.
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Police in Sanford said that up to 10,000 people could take part in the demonstration, which comes exactly a month after the 17-year-old was shot dead by self-appointed neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
The rally is one of a series of events taking place across the US on Monday to protest against the handling of the case and the perceived failure to hold the 28-year-old to account over Martin's death.
Over the weekend, vigils were held in churches across America in memory of Martin, who was killed as he walked back to the home of his father's girlfriend after a trip to nearby convenience store.
A number of preachers wore hooded tops in a sign of solidarity with the dead teenager's supporters. Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time of the killing.
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Two events planned Monday in the ongoing call for justice in the case of Trayvon Martin's death are expected to be especially somber, as it has now been one month since the 17-year-old was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Thousands are expected to gather once again for a pair of rallies planned in Sanford, which organizers hope will be similar to last week's rally that brought an estimated 10,000 people to Fort Mellon Park.
Monday's first rally is expected to begin at 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, including a protest march from Centennial Park to the Sanford Civic Center.
The march will also include a protest outside Sanford City Hall.
Then, at 5 p.m., protesters plan to rally at a special town hall meeting at the Civic Center.
City leaders said the doors at the Civic Center open at 4 p.m., but since the city is expecting so many people, officials said they are setting up a jumbo-sized TV screen at Fort Mellon Park to accommodate everyone who shows up for the event.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to return to Florida for the rally, along with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and members of Trayvon Martin's family.
Rallies are being held and scheduled across the country, including in Tampa.
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