World Bulletin / News Desk
Heeding the call from high school students who survived a deadly school shooting, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in cities across the U.S. urged lawmakers to act on gun control Saturday.
The March For Our Lives protests were organized by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students after a former student armed with an assault-style rifle killed 17 people in February at the Parkland, Florida school.
In Washington, organizers hoped to have half-a-million people turn out for a main event to call on Congress to draft legislation curbing firearms access.
Gracie Nayman had earlier participated in a nationwide student walk out at her high school in Chicago to draw attention to America’s epidemic of school shootings, and upon hearing of the demonstrations she and her family decided to extend a family trip to Washington to take part.
“We saw that progress needed to happen and change needed to happen, and it’s our generation that needs to take control,” she said alongside her father, mother and three brothers.
“It’s our responsibility to make the change because nothing’s happening as of now,” she said.
Her father Dan added: "There has been a sea change in the country."
Protesters filled Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol for several blocks northwest towards the White House as students, who would soon be eligible to vote, wore stickers indicating the year they could cast their ballots in a bold statement of their rapidly approaching electoral power.
"First-time voters show up 18 percent of the time in midterm elections. Not anymore," said David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student who has been central to the organizing efforts.
"If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking. They've gotten used to being protective of their position, choosing the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe. And to that we say no more."
The U.S. will hold midterm congressional elections in November.
President Donald Trump did not issue a statement either through Twitter or the White House, by Saturday afternoon but Lindsay Walters, his spokeswoman said in a statement: "We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today.
"Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s, which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law. Additionally, on Friday, the Department of Justice issued the rule to ban bump stocks following through on the President’s commitment to ban devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”
Canadians in at least a dozen cities marched in solidarity with those participating in the massive U.S. gun protest marches Saturday.
In Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver hundreds took to the streets to call for stricter gun control laws in Canada and the U.S. while supporting the massive March for Our Lives marches in the U.S.
In Toronto, marchers paraded along a 1.5 km route that took them by the U.S. consulate where they paused for a moment of silence for the 17 students who died in the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. They then continued to Queen’s Park, home of the Ontario Legislature.
Hundreds of demonstrators also walked to the U.S. consulate in Vancouver.
“The gun violence epidemic in America touches both Americans and Canadians living in Vancouver,” March Spokesman Bodil Geyer said in a release to Canadian media. “You can’t just stand silently and watch your neighbor go through a crisis like this.”
Barry Ellsworth contributed to this article.Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mart 2018, 09:42