NEW YORK—Close to 2,000 protesters took Times Square, on July 14 to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The protesters started at Union Square at approximately 6 p.m., then marched up 8th Avenue to Times Square bringing traffic to a standstill. A group of police tried blocking protesters as they neared Times Square, but moved aside to let them through after less than a minute.
The protest was primarily organized by the Occupy movement, but also drew protesters from outside the movement.
When the crowd stopped at Times Square, a small group of people with a bullhorn led the crowd in chanting slogans, including “No justice, no peace.” A woman took the bullhorn and asked the crowd to sit down, shouting, “We have taken over Times Square!”
People of all races and ages were in the crowd. Many parents brought their children along. One of the main objectives behind the protest is a petition calling for a civil case against Zimmerman.
While marching up 8th Avenue, Rahkeiah Brooks told Epoch Times that she can empathize with Martin’s parents. “We know that can happen to our children, friends, or family.”
“No one can bring anybody back from the dead, but you can’t console what happened,” she said, then described her reaction when she first heard the verdict. “I just started crying. I have to worry about my son being allowed to be shot like a target.”
Police mainly stood on the sidelines, trying to allow cross traffic to pass through. Many drivers were stuck, some honking and waving in support, as the crowd weaved through the streets.
One of the men with the bullhorn shouted to the crowd, “this is day one of this movement.”
After taking Times Square at around 8:45 p.m., the crowd started to peter down. One protester said the rally planned to head back to 14th Street at 9:30 p.m., claiming they had permission to do so.
At 9:22 p.m., however, plans changed and the remaining protesters split into groups: one part stayed at Times Square, and the other headed back down to Union Square.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder over the shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teen who was walking back from a convenience store when shot by Zimmerman after the two fought one night in February 2012. The jury, which reached its verdict on Saturday night, determined that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.