Demonstrators attend a protest calling for action on US gun violence in Washington, DC on June 11, 2022
Thousands of people took to the streets in the United States on Saturday to push for action on the devastating gun violence plaguing the country, where Republican politicians have repeatedly blocked efforts to enact stricter firearms laws.
Protesters of all ages streamed onto the National Mall in Washington, where a gun violence prevention group placed more than 45,000 white vases holding flowers — one for each person killed by a firearm in the United States in 2020.
Two horrific shootings last month — one at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 young children and two teachers, and another at a New York supermarket that left 10 Black people dead — helped spark the call for the protests.
“The will of the American people is being subverted by a minority,” said Cynthia Martins, a 63-year-old resident of the US capital, referring to the Republican Party.
“There’s a reason that we’re still in this situation and there’s still mass shootings,” Martins said, adding: “Hand wringing is not going to do anything — you have to make your voice heard.”
“We are here to demand justice,” Whitfield said. “We are here to stand with those who are bold enough to demand sensible gun legislation.”
Demonstrators marched in Parkland on Saturday, carrying signs with messages such as “Am I Next?” and “Books Not Bulletproof Backpacks.”
Protesters also turned out in New York City, with demonstrations planned at hundreds of locations around the country.
The massacre was carried out by a gunman who bought two assault rifles shortly after turning 18.
Frequent mass shootings have led to widespread outrage in the United States, where a majority of people support tighter gun laws, but opposition from many Republican lawmakers has long been a hurdle to major changes.
A cross-party group of senators has also been working on a narrow collection of controls that could develop into the first serious attempt at gun regulation reform in decades.
But it does not include an assault weapons ban or universal background checks, meaning it will fall short of the expectations of President Joe Biden, progressive Democrats and anti-gun violence activists.
Originally published as Thousands demonstrate for action on US gun violence
Place of originThousands demonstrate for action on US gun violence