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Friday 23 March 2018

Rallies planned over Zimmerman case

A protester confronts a Los Angles police officer during a demonstration over the acquittal of George Zimmerman (AP)
A protester confronts a Los Angles police officer during a demonstration over the acquittal of George Zimmerman (AP)
A protester stomps on a van during a demonstration in Los Angeles (AP)
Police officers work to extinguish a fire during a protest after George Zimmerman was found not guilty (AP/Bay Area News Group, Anda Chu)
People join a demonstration led by activist Quanell X in Houston (AP/Houston Chronicle)
J'hiana Jlapion sits on the shoulders of her father Jabari Jlapion during a protest in Atlanta (AP)
A group walk down Park Avenue in Worcester, Massachusetts in protest after the acquittal of George Zimmerman (AP)
George Zimmerman leaves court after his not guilty verdict (AP/Joe Burbank)
The Rev Al Sharpton speaks in front of Trayvon Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton (AP)

There will be vigils and rallies in 100 US cities this weekend to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman over the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, the Rev Al Sharpton said.

The prominent civil rights activist announced the plan at a news conference with several church ministers outside the Justice Department in Washington. He did not say which cities would be involved, but did say the rallies and vigils will be staged on Saturday at federal buildings.

Zimmerman's acquittal over the weekend touched off protests around the country.The Justice Department is investigating whether he violated the black teenager's civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a confrontation in Sanford, Florida, in February last year.

The neighbourhood watch volunteer, 29, said he fired his gun in self-defence, and a six-member jury acquitted him of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Mr Sharpton was speaking after violence erupted on the West Coast during protests over the acquittal.

Los Angeles police said about 150 people broke off from a larger, peaceful protest and began walking through the streets, committing multiple acts of vandalism and several assaults.

More than 300 officers were called to the scene but they held back from directly engaging with the protesters in an attempt to allow a peaceful end to the demonstration.

Thirteen people were arrested and officers warned they would adopt a much stricter stance if the protests continued for another night.

At least one person was injured and police made nine arrests when another protest turned violent in Oakland.

Newspapers reported that a waiter guarding windows at a restaurant was hit in the face with a hammer, and protesters threw fireworks at police in riot gear, while police deployed stun grenades. Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said the arrests were for crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.

Press Association

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