Outrage grows over Zimmerman ruling

2013-07-15 19:46
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Protests over Zimmerman verdict

Thousands marched in New York to protest the acquittal of George Zimmeran after his trial for killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. See the pictures.

Washington - Protests grew on Monday over the not-guilty verdict in the racially charged Florida death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, as hundreds of thousands of people signed online petitions demanding that federal authorities pursue charges.

Tens of thousands marched in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and other cities at the weekend to demonstrate against the six-person jury's verdict on Saturday.

By Monday, more than 600 000 people had signed a petition urging Attorney General Eric Holder to file federal civil rights charges against the neighbourhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, a Hispanic-American, who was acquitted on all charges.

"The most fundamental of civil rights - the right to life - was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin," the petition says.

Zimmerman's lawyers claimed he had acted in self defence after Martin, whom he had been stalking in a car and then on foot, attacked him. Under Florida's "stand your ground law", such a killing is legal.

Barbara Jenkins of Winfield Park, New Jersey, who signed the online petition, wrote that Martin was also defending himself against "a hostile person".

"Trayvon was within his right to defend himself. If Trayvon had shot Zimmerman, this case would have been totally different and this country knows that!" she wrote.

More than half the signatures - 340 000 as of 15:00 GMT - came in through the website of the country's premier civil rights organisation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a spokesperson told dpa.

She said the crush of signers had crashed the website over the weekend.

The remaining signatures - 266 000 as of 17:00 GMT - came in through Moveon.org, which posted the same petition.

In addition to the possibility of federal prosecution, Zimmerman could also face a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.

Read more on:    george zimmerman  |  trayvon martin  |  us  |  racism

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