SANFORD, Fla. - The nation looked on as thousands of people rallied in Sanford Thursday for the arrest of admitted killer, George Zimmerman.
Sanford residents and protesters from around the country attended a rally for a black teen fatally shot by a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford in February. The rally was initially planned for a 400-seat church, but Thursday evening's two-hour rally for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was moved to Fort Mellon Park in downtown Sanford to make room for all the people expected to attend.
The Rev. Al Sharpton led the rally with the cry, "No justice, No peace" that electrified the crowd. However, people there needed no rallying call -- their anger was already clear. They want Trayvon Martin's killer behind bars.
"Zimmerman had probable cause that night," Rev. Sharpton told the crowd. "You cannot defend yourself against a pack of Skittles and iced tea. Don't talk to us like we're stupid."
In peaceful protest, people came wearing hoodies, holding signs, and reminding parents everywhere that Martin could have been anyone's child.
"Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son," said the boy's mother, Sybrina Fulton, as she took the podium and was met with resounding cheers.
The 17-year-old's parents stood among politicians and civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, III and NAACP President Ben Jealous.
Now as icons in their own right, the family is getting both emotional and financial support. Donation buckets passed through the crowd will go directly to the family.
Although the Sanford Police Chief and State Attorney removed themselves from the controversy, the family and their supporters are preparing for a long road.
"Though it is good what the governor did, though it is good that the Justice Department is down here, we don't want just good. We want to see Zimmerman in court with handcuffs behind his back, charged with the death of this young man, Trayvon Martin," said Sharpton.
Sharpton also expressed concern that if Zimmerman is not arrested, it would set a legal precedent -- essentially a loophole for murder.
Martin's father, Tracy Martin, said, "I pledge I will not let my son die in vain."
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and has not been arrested. The case is being reviewed by the State Attorney's Office.
Copyright 2011 by Post-Newsweek Stations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed