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Florida Trayvon Martin protesters take over Department of Justice Office

Gainesville demands DOJ file civil rights charges against Zimmerman
By staff |
July 15, 2013
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Diana Moreno, a UF Students for a Democratic Society member, speaking  to the c
Diana Moreno, a UF Students for a Democratic Society member, speaking to the crowd of protesters. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Occupation demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
Occupation demand justice for Trayvon Martin.

Gainesville, FL - On July 15, at 4:00 p.m., 150 activists and community members gathered in Bo Diddley Plaza to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice file charges against George Zimmerman for violating the Civil Rights of Trayvon Martin.

Chants of “Justice for Trayvon,” and “No justice, no peace,” were heard all across downtown Gainesville as speakers fired up the crowd. Lead organizer with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Eric Brown said, “The criminal justice system has failed us again. We need to demand that the Department of Justice intervenes. That’s the next step for us.”

As the crowd began their march towards the Department of Justice office, police officers tried to disrupt the protest by confiscating megaphones from the leaders of the march. However, the protesters were not intimidated. Instead, as they crossed University Avenue, they sang loudly together, “Mama, mama can’t you see? What the system’s done to me?”

When they reached their destination, the marchers threw open the doors to the building and climbed three flights of stairs to occupy the local Department of Justice field office. 50 people crammed into the small room while dozens of others waited outside and listened to impassioned speeches from community members. The group vowed to stay there until their demands were heard.

Finally a message came through that their demands were sent to the officials handling the case in Sanford, Florida. Jeremiah Tattersall, one of the organizers of the event, said, “The Department of Justice is hearing us, but we just need to be louder. There is hope in the people’s struggle and the real change is in the streets.”

After the occupation, protesters stayed and congregated near the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. They made plans to continue organizing until real justice for Trayvon has been won.

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