Hundreds of demonstrators descended on Dudley Square in Roxbury this evening to speak out against the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida man who admitted to shooting and killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
Zimmerman's defense argued the 29-year-old acted in self-defense when he and Martin met inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida. They accuse civil rights advocates of wrongly injecting the issue of race, but scores of outraged Bostonians made it clear tonight that they disagree.
Boston activist Akunna Hussein Eneh was one of several organizers behind the event, dubbed "Justice for Trayvon Martin: Day of Decision Protest," which condemned the verdict and called for an end to racial oppression. [embedgallery id=184522]
“I personally was expecting (the verdict) but it didn’t hamper any anger I had. It was infuriating. It seemed like Trayvon was on trial, not George Zimmerman,” she said. “The amount of anger was really what caused people to put this on.”
Eneh said the event was planned before the verdict was announced late Saturday.
As the protest revved up, around 6:30 p.m., demonstrators chanted, "No justice, no peace," and held signs showing Martin's face.
Although the protest was expected to be peaceful, police sent additional officers to Dudley Square.
“We will not interfere with anyone exercising their First Amendment rights. We only request all participants do so responsibly," MBTA Lt. Det. Richard Sullivan said after learning of the demonstration.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has called on the nation to keep its cool in the wake of the divisive ruling.
No arrests or acts of violence were reported at the Roxbury rally as of deadline Sunday.
Rallies also popped up in cities across the country, including New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, as well as Sanford.