Zimmerman trial protesters aim to keep up momentum

NEW YORK — Thousands of demonstrators from across the country — chanting, praying and fighting tears — protested a jury’s decision to clear neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, and organizers say they’ll try to maintain the momentum with vigils next weekend.

Rallies on Sunday were largely peaceful as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s family and decried the verdict. Police in Los Angeles said they arrested six people, mostly for failure to disperse, after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared. New York police said at least a dozen people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges during a rally in Times Square.

Advocates want federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday in Martin’s 2012 shooting death. The Rev. Al Sharpton said Monday that his organization will hold vigils and rallies in 100 cities Saturday in front of federal buildings.

The Justice Department has said it’s considering whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case. The department opened an investigation into Martin’s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.

Sunday’s demonstrations, held in cities from Florida to Wisconsin, attracted anywhere from a few dozen people to a more than a thousand.

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