NEW YORK CITY: Superstar couple Jay Z and Beyonce joined protesters across the United States (US) on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) amid simmering anger over a not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
A call for nationwide vigils designed to press for federal action in the emotionally charged case drew thousands to one New York rally.
Elsewhere turnouts were more modest, with the crowds drawn overwhelmingly from the black community, including in Miami where the slain 17-year-old’s father spoke.
“The death of my son, we believe, has to make changes in our society and repeal the laws that allow to kill somebody just because someone thinks [he]is suspect,” Tracy Martin said.
The surprise appearance of hip hop star Jay Z and his wife, pop superstar Beyonce Knowles, helped swell the crowd at a Manhattan protest addressed by Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and civil rights leader Al Sharpton.
Briefly overcome with emotion as she thanked the crowd for their support, Fulton vowed to ensure her son’s death would not be in vain but pleaded for protests to be kept peaceful.
“Trayvon would be proud,” she told the crowd. “Not only do I have to do what I have to do for Trayvon, I’m going to work for your children as well.” AFP
In Miami, between 300 and 500 people turned out for the rally, but a heavy downpour quickly dispersed the crowd.
On the US west coast, hundreds gathered for rallies in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland. In Chicago, several hundred protesters that marched came from a mix of racial backgrounds.