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Trayvon Martin: the protests continue in Florida and the nation

Stanley O. Williford | 4/4/2012, 5 p.m.

The nation's outrage over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watchman, rolls on, showing little signs of abating.

In Miami, Martin's parents were expected to attend a candlelight memorial service Wednesday night commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was shot and killed at a Memphis, Tenn., hotel 44 years ago. The "Reclaim the Dream" service, which included a unity march, candlelight prayer and gospel concert, was dedicated to Trayvon Martin.

In Tallahassee, the state capital, a march to protest the Martin's shooting death was allowed to proceed after city officials relented, despite a lack of liability coverage.

Tallahassee officials had told the march organizer, the National Christian League of Councils, that it needed to show proof it could self-insure against any liability claim, after the NCLC said it could not obtain a $1 million liability policy as required by a city ordinance.
The group said its application was rejected by 12 insurance companies due to the march's controversial nature and security concerns.

City Attorney Jim English said the city decided to reverse itself and remove the insurance requirements because of concerns over the NCLC's First Amendment rights.

In Washington, several Congressional Black Caucus members introduced a resolution that memorializes Martin and calls for the repeal of controversial gun laws that allow shooters to claim self-defense.

The resolution states that the February shooting of Martin "sets a horrific precedent of vigilante justice and compromises the integrity of the legal system," also stating Zimmerman's "unfounded assumptions and racial bias led to the use of deadly force."

Approximately 100 people of all ages gathered at Roy Gilmore Park in Holly Hill, S.C., on Tuesday for a rally calling for justice for Martin. But even as protesters gathered, they admitted that something needed to be done to stop shootings in their own county of Orangeburg.

"It is a sad occasion that we're here, but we must do the work of the Lord," said the Rev. Charles R. Miles, pastor of St. Luke AME Church in Summerville. "Trayvon Martin and his family will get justice as long as there's a God who is on the throne."

Amid all the protests and rallies, there have been many calls to repeal Florida's notorious Stand Your Ground law.

"As the Department of Justice continues its thorough investigation into Trayvon Martin's untimely death, it is time for us as legislators to look at the troubling 'Stand Your Ground' law, which has enabled George Zimmerman to remain free," Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said in a statement.

As a countermeasure, a majority of Republicans believe the media have gone overboard with their coverage, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The survey found that 56 percent of Republicans are fed up with the amount of coverage.
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