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Massive Minneapolis march demands justice for Trayvon and Terrance

By Chris Getowicz and Tracy Molm |
July 17, 2013
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Minneapolis protest demands justice for Trayvon Martin and Terrance Franklin
Minneapolis protest demands justice for Trayvon Martin and Terrance Franklin (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Thousands of people gathered here, July 15, in the Peoples Plaza in front of the Hennepin County Government Center, to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, Terrance Franklin and all victims of police brutality.

The rally was called in the wake of the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. It highlighted racism and injustice in Minneapolis. Community members spoke out about issues including the Minneapolis Police Department’s shooting of Terrance Franklin in a South Minneapolis House in May. Franklin was unarmed and shot seven times in the back and head after fleeing Minneapolis police. The mother of Franklin's five-year-old son, Ashley Martin, thanked the crowd for their support of Franklin and reminded them, "We're not going to stop until we get justice!" Protesters demanded an independent investigation of the incident and prosecution of the police officers involved in Franklin’s shooting.

Other community members took time to speak about excessive force used by Minneapolis police and the ongoing criminalization of oppressed nationality youth. This point was highlighted by the large number of children and youth at the rally, some holding signs saying, “Am I next?”

Speakers also talked about the need for jobs and better education for the Black community. Many praised the people of Eqypt who have taken the streets to demand change and reminded the crowd that we need to do the same. “Change can not happen through voting or the justice system in the U.S.,” said University of Minnesota Students for Democratic Society member Stephanie Taylor, “we need stand up and fight back.”

Amber Jones, President of the Black Student Union at the University of Minnesota stated, “We’re talking about fundamental issues about our justice system. Black youths are being criminalized. We need to stay connected to [the Trayvon Martin] case to make change in our society.”

The rally concluded with a march across downtown Minneapolis in which protesters took to the streets spanning over five and half city blocks. Bystanders and pedestrians, some of whom joined in the march, applauded and cheered as protesters came by chanting, “No justice, no peace.” The three demands of the rally were that federal charges be brought against George Zimmerman; for an independent review and prosecution of Minneapolis police in the case of Terrance Franklin; and an end to racism in the legal system.

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