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Tampa protests not guilty verdict, demands Justice for Trayvon

By Jared Hamil |
July 15, 2013
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Tampa protests not guilty verdict in Zimmerman case.
Tampa protests not guilty verdict in Zimmerman case. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tampa, FL – On July 14, 200 protesters gathered in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park downtown here, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. The day after Zimmerman was found not guilty people came together in outrage throughout the country to demand justice and an end to the oppression of African Americans.

Many groups were present, including the Coalition for Justice for Trayvon, Tampa Dream Defenders, Students for a Democratic Society and the Tampa Bay Light Brigade. There was a large turnout from the African American community. Alekos Zambrano of Tampa Dream Defenders fired up the crowd by saying, “We have a right to be angry because justice sure didn't mean not guilty!”

Community member Shay Johnson told the crowd, “My son is two, and I have to teach him that there are people who will hate you because of the color of your skin and even if you may fight you will die because of the color of your skin.” As more protesters began to show up, so did the police who lined up five unmarked cars in order to intimidate those in the rally. Life Malcolm said, “If this is how the system works, then the system isn't working for us. The thing is long before stand your ground law existed, Jeniffer Porter ran over those children and got away scot-free. They control these laws and bend them to their will. It's not just about the laws.”

When the rally finished, the crowd poured into the streets chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Marching through downtown Tampa and blocking traffic they marched to the steps of the Sam Gibbons Federal Court Building. They continued chanting, “We want justice! National protest!” as the voice of the crowd echoed off of buildings throughout downtown. After a round of chants, people came up to speak out.

Marisol Marquez of the Legalization for All Network spoke to the crowd, “This won't end today! We can't go away. People must continue to fight against racism and oppression. It will keep happening if we don't.”

The crowd marched back to the park and continued chanting. Some joined in a candlelight vigil. As the sun began to set, people left vowing to keep active. Cities around the country continued protesting. More protests are called for June 15.