Thousands of people rallied in Pine Trails Park in Parkland, FL on Saturday morning, six weeks after 17 students and faculty were killed and 15 wounded in the halls and classrooms of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a lone gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle.
The rally’s themes: ending gun violence, stopping the National Rifle Association’s funding of politicians, registering to vote, and voting for candidates who support common sense gun laws and against those who take NRA money.
Home-made and printed signs were everywhere in the crowd that began building for the 10 a.m. rally at 6:30 in the morning. By 8:00 the fields in the park were beginning to fill. By 10 a.m., a Broward Sheriff’s Office estimate put the gathering at about 20,000. Police presence was heavy and fire-rescue squads were posted in the area.
Voter registration tents run by the Voter Participation Project for Broward County were busy registering new voters and voters who needed to revise their registrations.
The mood of the crowd was angry, sad and excited to be part of a movement they feel promises progress in taking assault rifles off the streets, requiring universal background checks, waiting periods for gun ownership and an age limit for buying weapons.
Speakers read the names of the shooting victims and promised that the rally would not be the last. Students held up their hands with “Don’t shoot” written on their palms.
A march to Douglas high that was scheduled to begin at noon, began just before 1 p.m.
Pictures by Ardy Friedberg; Video by Susie Friedberg; “The Climb” Music By Miley Cyrus