SANFORD, Florida: United States (US) President Barack Obama appealed for restraint on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as thousands marched across the country protesting the acquittal of a man who gunned down an unarmed black teenager.
A Florida jury on Saturday found volunteer watchman George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a racially charged trial that transfixed much of the country for weeks.
Crowds took to the streets to protest the verdict Sunday in cities including Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In New York, several thousand rallied in Times Square waving signs with portraits of Martin, while others wore “hoodie” sweatshirts, despite the searing heat, as the teen did the night he was killed.
“The man was armed, the kid was not, and the man with the gun got away,” said protester Carli VanVoorhis, 21. “If we say it was not a racial issue, we would be lying.”
Despite the large crowds the various marches were largely peaceful, though windows were smashed and cars vandalized in pre-dawn protests in Oakland, California.
Obama, the first black US president, urged Americans to step back and accept the trial verdict.