All across the United States late Sunday night and early into Monday morning, thousands of protesters took to the streets to make their voices heard about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, shouting “Justice for Trayvon” and blocking traffic. Several have faced arrest and numerous skirmishes have broken out.
Times Square was still jammed just after midnight Monday morning as traffic was blocked in many directions, according to reports on social media. Protesters carried signs saying “Stop Racial Profiling” and shouted through megaphones.
Reports poured in from social media from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Miami, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Washington and Chicago. Some freeways were shut down in Los Angeles, and Twitter users claimed police brutality in some instances.
There were many complaints on Facebook regarding the lack of media coverage and Twitter users kept up a steady stream of photos of giant crowds that showed no sign of dying down. Marchers chanted “No Justice! No Peace! Trayvon!” as they flooded the streets.
In Los Angeles, the Rosa Parks Freeway was brought to a complete halt as protesters marched, rode bikes and carried signs in the middle of the road. Santa Monica and La Brea intersection were also closed. There have been several accounts of police officers firing “beanbag” rounds into the crowd to subdue the participants.
Twitter users described Manhattan as “a sea of hoodies” in support of Trayvon Martin, referring to the type of shirt Martin was wearing on the night he was killed. The hoodie has become a symbol of support for Martin and his family. In East Harlem, New York, people shouted “We want justice and we want it now!” as they walked against traffic. When the group of protesters reached Harlem, some reported via Twitter that the police were dressed in riot gear and threatened to use mace to control the crowd.
In Oakland, there was a report of a cop car having its windows smashed and the words “kill pigs” written on the back of it, sparking fears that further violence could ensue through the night.
In San Francisco, protesters began swarming the Golden Gate Bridge. Mainstream media seemed to downplay the event, with few reports coming in from the major networks and a seeming under-representation of the numbers of protesters in the streets.
Social media users sent warnings to each other about police locations and alerted other protest participants about SWAT team presence and helicopters. Twitter user @JackCullison reported there was a “Swat Team, 4 helicopters, 15 police vehicles & a horse sent to tame the Trayvon protest @ TCL Chinese,” while others sent pictures of police appearing to stop the crowd by forming a line in front of the marchers. Some described the atmosphere as “tense” and there were reports that police were planning on labeling the protest an “unlawful assembly.”
The pictures appear to show police blocking people’s right to peacefully assemble, raising the ire of the protest participants. In the wee hours of Monday morning, reports continued to pour in that the crowds were swelling ever larger rather than dying down.
The case has spread overseas, and a fresh protest has been called for in London at 4:00 p.m. today at the U.S. Embassies there.
By: Rebecca Savastio