Thousands Rally In Downtown Eugene To Protest Gun Violence

26 March 2018, 01:06 | Kristine Mills

Hundreds of thousands march for US gun control

The stage area is set up on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol in Washington Friday

While protesters called for more gun control, voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation's newest voters.

King Kekaulike High School freshman Rachel Zisk delivers a powerful speech at University of Hawaii Maui College before Saturday's march. They promised to transform fear and grief into a "vote-them-out" movement and press tougher laws against weapons and ammunitions, said media reports.

I'd hate to be the one to shatter this girl's resolve since she is right. I think people need to listen to us.

But the most riveting appearances were by the Stoneman Douglas students. Most students were either too busy with their studies or unmindful or unconcerned about what their government was doing overseas in the third world countries.

He warned: "We will get rid of these public servants who only care about the gun lobby".

"It's absolutely insane", Emma Bonner said of deadly school shootings such as the one in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 last month. The National Rifle Association (NRA) often cites a single, 27-word sentence from the USA constitution, penned in 1791, guaranteeing Americans' rights to form civil militias.

He pointed to California's bans on assault rifles, bump stocks and waiting periods on gun sales as a model for federal legislation, and closed with a message for President Donald Trump - "Get with the program Mr. President, or get the hell out of the way". Another national walkout, organized by a different group of students, is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the 1999 attack at Colorado's Columbine High School that killed 12 students and a teacher and two dozen others. "When I come to school, I don't want to have to look for the nearest exit".

"My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character", she told a rapt crowd.

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An aerial view of marchers on Capitol Hill. "People are still dying", Stewart said. As of early afternoon, he had yet to weigh in on Twitter about the protests.

"The problem that I have with March for Our Lives is they didn't invite us", Shawn Haufe, a combat veteran with Gun Owners of New Mexico told local Albuquerque television station KOB-TV.

About 30 gun-rights supporters staged a counter-demonstration in front of Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, standing quietly with signs such as "Armed Victims Live Longer" and "Stop Violating Civil Rights". Voter registration groups, including Rock the Vote, Voto Latino and HeadCount, a nonpartisan group that usually focuses on registering people at concerts and music festivals, also helped mobilize teams at Saturday's marches in 30 USA cities and have created a registration tool kit for high school students. We've seen dead children become mere statistics. The crowd roared with approval as she laid down the students' central demand: a ban on "weapons of war" for all but warriors. Yolanda Renee King, the nine-year-old granddaughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. brought many to tears with a surprise appearance.

In Scotland, some relatives of those killed in a school shooting in the town of Dunblane in 1996 attended a protest in Edinburgh. The classmate also died.

"I think it's important that we raise more awareness about this", said Washington-native Liam Amador Emmons, whose family also participated in the Women's March on Maui.

Dryden, a 16-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, explained gun control is a broken system that leaves students living in "fear" and vulnerable.

Organisers are hoping the electricity of the crowds, their sheer numbers and the under-18 roster of speakers will create a tipping point, starting with the midterm congressional elections this fall. In addition to pushing for tighter gun laws, the students have been working to register young people to vote.

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