17 held after Zimmerman protest

17 held after Zimmerman protest

A protest over George Zimmerman’s acquittal has led to the arrests of 17 people in a southern California town.

Eight of the 17 people arrested in Victorville were juveniles, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Most of the arrests in the city about 85 miles north east of Los Angeles were on charges of unlawful assembly, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Authorities told the paper that most of the 80 people who took part in the demonstration were peaceful.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles and Oakland were flashpoints for violent reactions following Saturday’s acquittal of Mr Zimmerman over the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Trayvon was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida, and returning to the home of his father’s fiancee after a trip to a store when Mr Zimmerman identified him as a potential criminal. The neighbourhood watch volunteer shot him during a physical confrontation in the gated community in February last year.

Civil rights leaders have stepped up plans for vigils and rallies in 100 US cities to press the government to bring civil charges against Mr Zimmerman. A jury of six women found him not guilty of murder as well as the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The protests will take place in front of federal court buildings at noon on Saturday in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

In Los Angeles, people ran through the streets on Monday night, breaking windows, attacking people on pavements and raiding a Wal-Mart store, while others blocked a major road in the San Francisco Bay area in a third night of demonstrations.

Fourteen people were arrested after acts of vandalism and several assaults. Los Angeles police vowed yesterday to crack down with quick action and arrests if further disturbances arose.

At least one person was injured and police made nine arrests when another protest turned violent in Oakland.

Newspapers reported that a waiter guarding windows at a restaurant was hit in the face with a hammer, and protesters threw fireworks at police in riot gear, while police deployed stun grenades.

The Justice Department is looking into Trayvon’s death to determine whether federal prosecutors will file criminal civil rights charges against Mr Zimmerman, who is now a free man. His lawyer has told ABC News that Mr Zimmerman will get his gun back and intends to arm himself again.

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