TALLAHASSEE (CBS Miami/AP) — Day five and they’re not budging or backing down from their cause.
Protesters angered by the acquittal of George Zimmerman are inside the Florida Capitol demanding a repeal of the state’s ‘stand your ground’ self-defense law.
Police said about 20 protesters remained firmly in place Saturday, the demonstration’s fifth consecutive day.
Members of The Dream Defenders say they will not leave until Gov. Rick Scott calls a special session to have legislators repeal the law, which allows someone to use deadly force if they believe their life is in danger.
Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012, after the two fought during a confrontation in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford. Martin was unarmed.
Zimmerman did not invoke the law, instead relying on traditional self-defense arguments, but the judge in the trial included a provision of “stand your ground” in the jurors’ instructions, allowing them to consider it as a legitimate defense.
Protest leaders met Thursday with Scott, but the governor told them he supported the law and would not call a special session.
The Dream Defenders vowed to continue their protest.
“Rick Scott has awoken a sleeping giant,” said Curtis Hierro, one of the group’s leaders, in a statement. “Dream Defenders call for people around the nation to converge on Florida’s Capitol to join us as we stand our ground for Trayvon.”
Pictures and video posted on the group’s Twitter page Saturday showed the protesters camped out in the Capitol rotunda, lying on the floor and covered with blankets. One picture showed supporters standing outside the building in the rain.
The group’s online petition at MoveOn.org for a special session had more than 24,000 signatures.
On Saturday, police said the protest was peaceful, with no arrests or disturbances.
The standoff could go on for some time. The Republican-controlled Legislature is unlikely to reconsider the law it passed in 2005. Bills to change “stand your ground” went nowhere during the 2013 session.
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