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Demonstrators flooded streets across the globe in public protests on Saturday, calling for action against gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of marchers turned out, in the most ambitious show of force yet from a student-driven movement that emerged after the recent massacre at a South Florida high school.
At the main event in Washington, survivors of mass shootings, including the one in Florida, rallied a whooping crowd — “Welcome to the revolution,” said one of the student organizers — and spoke of communities that are disproportionately affected by gun violence. “It is normal to see flowers honoring the lives of black and brown youth that have lost their lives to a bullet,” Edna Chavez, 17, said of her South Los Angeles neighborhood.
• In New York, marchers bundled in bright orange — the official color of a gun control advocacy group — charged toward Central Park. And in Parkland, Fla., less than a mile from where the shooting took place last month, one protester’s eyes brimmed with tears, surrounded by the echoing chant, “Enough is enough!”
Small groups of counterprotesters supporting gun rights also marched in different cities. In Salt Lake City, demonstrators carried pistols and flags. One of their signs read: “What can we do to stop mass shootings? SHOOT BACK.” In Boston, opposing groups of protesters shouted at one another before the police intervened.
• More than 800 protests were planned in every American state, including in some gun-friendly cities, and on every continent except for Antarctica, according to a website set up by organizers. Check out photos from around the world.
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• Planning for the events was spearheaded by a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who have emerged as national anti-gun figures in the wake of the shooting that left 17 dead.
• Sharp-tongued and defiant, the student leaders hoped to elevate gun control as a key issue during the upcoming midterm elections, and to inspire their peers to register to vote en masse.
• They were building on the success of a national school walkout this month, and gun control legislation in Florida that they helped to usher in. Their goal remains, as articulated online in the event’s mission statement, to “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”
• The White House responded to the demonstrations in a statement. “We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today,” it read. On Friday, the Justice Department proposed banning so-called bump stocks, but President Trump signed a spending bill that included only some background check and school safety measures.
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Trump Continues to Ignore the March for Our Lives and Its Calls for Change
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More than 800,000 people flooded the streets of the nation’s capital on Saturday to demand action on gun reform and to reduce gun violence in the country. Hundreds of thousands rallied in other cities across the U.S. and the world. But you wouldn’t know it from the president’s response on Twitter.
The Associated Press called the extraordinary March for Our Lives “the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era.” And even the Pope weighed in during his Palm Sunday sermon, urging the student–led movement to push forward with its efforts. “The temptation to silence young people has always existed,” Pope Francis said.