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Tampa, St. Pete to host protests of Stand Your Ground law Saturday following Zimmerman verdict

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, president of the National Action Network, discusses plans Tuesday for rallies in 100 cities.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, president of the National Action Network, discusses plans Tuesday for rallies in 100 cities.
Published Jul. 20, 2013

Two demonstrations in the bay area today are expected to attract hundreds of residents with concerns about Florida's "stand your ground'' law after the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Tampa is one of about 100 cities nationwide where protesters are expected to heed the Rev. Al Sharpton's call for to rally for justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old who was shot last year in Sanford by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Sharpton's National Action Network is encouraging people to hold vigils outside federal buildings across the country to support a Department of Justice investigation into the killing.

Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was acquitted of second-degree murder last weekend.

The vigils are intended "to press the federal government to investigate civil rights charges" against Zimmerman, the National Action Network said in a statement.

The Tampa rally will be held outside the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse at noon. Local organizers said they expect hundreds of people to peacefully demonstrate and discuss the "stand your ground'' law and race relations in the United States.

Several other cities, including Gainesville, Jacksonville and Miami, will also host protests as part of the Sharpton initiative.

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, will attend the New York vigil with Sharpton, according to the National Action Network. His father, Tracy Martin, will attend the Miami rally.

In downtown St. Petersburg, the National Christian League of Councils plans to lead a march opposing the "stand your ground'' law this morning.

"The Florida Stand Your Ground Law as presently legislated is being used by some as no more and no less a cover for murder," Sevell C. Brown III, national director for the League of Councils, said in a statement.

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