Dueling groups of protesters converged on a wealthy Houston neighborhood on Sunday in reaction to last weekend’s not-guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the death of teen Trayvon Martin.
Around 80 people gathered on a street in Houston’s River Oaks area, some carrying American flags and shouting support for stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
Members of this group held signs that read: ‘We’re racist and proud,’ ‘Remove the Black Panthers from the U.S.A.’ and ‘If Zimmerman is a “White Hispanic” then President Obama is a “White Black.”‘
Opposition: A woman holds a sign up as the G. Zimmerman River Oaks Stand Your Ground group holds a counter demonstration to Houston community activist Quanell X’s group march in the River Oaks community in Houston on Sunday
Confrontation: Houston activist Quanell X, left, walks past a man who would not give his name, during a protest in the River Oaks community in Houston on Sunday
Kept apart: Police officers, many on horseback, kept the crowds moving and separated
Their presence was in response to several hundred people organized by Houston activist Quanell X, who led a march for more than an hour through the same neighborhood’s streets in support of Martin.
Police officers, many on horseback, kept the crowds moving and separated. Except for some insults shouted, the marches and rallies appeared peaceful.
On Saturday, one week after Zimmerman was found not guilty, people gathered for nationwide rallies to press for federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader.
Crowds rallied in dozens of U.S. cities, urging authorities to change self-defense laws and pressing federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch leader who killed Martin.
Anger: Protestors shout at counter-protestors across the street on Del Monte Drive in the River Oaks community in Houston on Sunday
Pro-Trayvon: A protestor carries a sign in the River Oaks community in Houston on Sunday
Counter movement: A protestor holds a sign as the G. Zimmerman River Oaks Stand Your Ground group holds a demonstration against community activist Quanell X
Calm: Except for some insults shouted, the marches and rallies appeared peaceful
Beyonce and Jay Z joined the Florida teenager’s mother as she spoke to crowds in Manhattan alongside the Reverend Al Sharpton.
The case has become a flashpoint in separate but converging national debates over self-defense laws, guns, and race relations.
The Rev Al Sharpton’s National Action Network organized Justice for Trayvon rallies and vigils outside federal buildings from noon in at least 101 cities, from New York and Los Angeles to Wichita in Kansas and Birmingham, Alabama.
On Saturday morning he told supporters in Manhattan he wanted a rollback of stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
High profile: Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton, third from left, was joined by Beyonce, Jay Z and the Rev Al Sharpton at New York’s protest Saturday
Connection: Celebrity couple Beyonce and Jay Z say as parents they can understand the pain of the verdict
‘We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again,’ he said.
Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, also spoke at the New York rally, telling the crowd: ‘Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours.’
She added: ‘Of course we are hurting. Of course we are shocked and disappointed, but that just means we have to roll up our sleeves and continue to fight.’
Ms Fulton, her son Jahvaris, and the Rev Al Sharpton joined the rally as it marched to One Police Plaza at noon, where they were joined by Jay Z and his wife Beyonce, according to the New York Post.