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HUNDREDS of thousands of schoolchildren and supporters rallied across the United States at the weekend to demand tougher gun laws.
The “March for Our Lives” events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country, marking the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam war era.
In Washington DC, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and elsewhere, demonstrators heard from student survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from a stage near the Capitol to a spot many blocks away towards the White House.
“We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city … Because this,” he said, pointing behind him to the Capitol dome, “is not cutting it.”
The message at the different rallies was consistent, with demonstrators vowing to vote out members of Congress who refuse to support gun controls.
Many rallies had tables where volunteers helped people register to vote while speakers detailed the policies they wanted and the effect gun violence has had on their lives.
The fire alarm at Trenton High School is scary, said 17-year-old Gabrielle James at a march in suburban Detroit.
“We don’t know if it’s an actual drill or if someone’s actually inside the school, going to take your life,” Ms James said at a march in Detroit.
She said government has “extremely failed” to protect students from gun violence and she wants restrictions on automatic weapons.
“I work extremely hard at my studies. Sometimes I just sit in my car before going to school, wondering if I’m going to be home to see my mother after school,” Ms James said.
Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jnr’s nine-year-old granddaughter, drew from the civil rights leader’s most famous words in declaring from the Washington DC stage: “I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”
While there were no official numbers, the Washington rally rivalled the women’s march last year that drew far more than the predicted 300,000.
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