October 25, 2014
Trayvon Martin parents join rally for slain Missouri teen
Hundreds of people gathered in a St Louis park for a rally against police violence that brought together the family of Michael Brown, killed by an officer in Missouri this month, and the parents of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager shot dead in 2012.
The Peace Fest rally in Forest Park took place one day before the funeral of Brown. The slaying of the 18-year-old black youth by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9 led to days of unrest and drew global attention to race relations in the United States.
The shooting of Martin by a civilian vigilante reignited the debate about the state of race relations in the United States at a level not seen in recent years, with family and supporters saying it showed the rough treatment that black youths face.
In Ferguson, police and demonstrators have clashed on and off for more than a week, drawing criticism of the police for mass arrests and the use of heavy-handed tactics and military gear.
The last four nights have been relatively calm, however, although shortly before midnight on Saturday, police arrested three people. The main street of Ferguson was open to traffic and the police presence was down sharply from just 24 hours earlier.
At the St Louis rally, Kevin Harris, 40, a security guard who lives in the area, was sitting with his 11-year-old son Kameron in the crowd on foldout canvas chairs waiting for the Browns to arrive.
Harris wore a T-shirt with the silhouette of a man with his hands up and reading "Please Don't Shoot - R.I.P. Michael Brown" and Kameron was wearing a T-shirt saying "Hands Up Don't Shoot." Both were drinking Gatorade to hydrate in the blazing sun.
"We all need to come together to stop the violence. All the violence, including black on black violence. We are our own worst enemy," Harris said.