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THOUSANDS of people demonstrated in Florida at the weekend to demand stricter gun laws following 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz’s shooting spree at a school which left 17 children and staff dead.
Activists are planning more rallies across the country in the coming weeks, with organisers behind the Women’s March calling for a 17-minute nationwide walkout by teachers and students on March 14.
The Network for Public Education, an anti-privatisation group, announced a day of walkouts, sit-ins and other events on school campuses on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in which two teenage boys massacred 12 students and one teacher.
Huge crowds rallied for tougher gun laws in Fort Lauderdale and St Petersburg, respectively about 25 and 250 miles away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“The fact that we can’t go to school and feel safe every day, when we’re supposed to feel safe, is a problem,” secondary school pupil Fabiana Corsa said in Fort Lauderdale.
She said elected representatives were “sacrificing students” in order to get money from the National Rifle Association.
The crowd at the rally chanted: “Vote them out!” and held signs calling for action. Some read: “Never Again,” “Do something now” and “Don’t Let My Friends Die.”
Gun lobbyists typically claim that the country’s founders promised over 230 years ago that citizens have the right to own deadly weapons.
This year there have been eight separate school shootings, with 20 children and staff killed and 40 wounded.
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