NEW YORK - Thousands of demonstrators demanding "Justice for Trayvon" marched in major cities across the United States on Sunday to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
While a jury of six women absolved Zimmerman of any crime with their not-guilty verdict, civil rights leaders decried the decision, and demonstrators took to the streets in New York, Boston, San Francisco and other cities.
US President Barack Obama called for a peaceful response to the case that has polarized the US public over the past 16 months. In general, the demonstrations were peaceful, though the New York march became disorderly at times.
Defense lawyers argued that Martin, 17, attacked Zimmerman, who shot the teen in self-defense. Prosecutors said Zimmerman, 29, who is white and Hispanic, wrongly suspected Martin, 17, of being a criminal because he was black.
Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious looking person, then left his car with a fully loaded Kel Tec 9mm pistol concealed in his waistband. A fight ensued in which Zimmerman suffered a bloody nose and head injuries, and Zimmerman shot Martin once in the heart, killing him.