Help us raise $20,000 to celebrate 20 years. For a limited time, your donation is matched!Donate

SLIDESHOWS: Public Space and Protesting the Zimmerman Verdict

Yesterday, thousands of people gathered in cities around the country to protest the George Zimmerman verdict. In doing so they turned ordinary, well-known public spaces into forums where an outraged community could voice its frustrations and demand change.

Credit: Kyle Rogers

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

It was Saturday night when a six-member jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager gunned down following an altercation with Zimmerman in a Sanford, Fla. gated housing complex last year.

Yesterday, thousands of people gathered in cities around the country to protest, among other things, the jury’s decision, Florida’s “stand your ground” laws and the societal treatment of young black men in general. In doing so they turned ordinary, well-known public spaces — such as Times Square in New York, Love Park in Philadelphia, Daley Plaza in Chicago — into forums where an outraged community could voice its frustrations and demand change. With a few exceptions in Oakland and Los Angeles, the demonstrations were peaceful.

New York

New York City drew out the largest demonstration, with between 1,000 and 2,000 people amassing at Union Square in the afternoon before marching 20-some blocks uptown to swarm Times Square by nightfall. About a dozen people were arrested.

Gallery: Trayvon Martin Protests—New York


Protesters in Philadelphia aired their grievances at two of the city’s most visible landmarks: Love Park and the Liberty Bell. About 700 people marched from the park through Center City to Independence Mall and back without incident.

Love Park is no stranger to public discontent: Besides Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, the space is perhaps best known as an eminently skate-able place with a comically ignored skateboarding ban.

Gallery: Trayvon Martin Protests—Philadelphia


“At least 150 people” in Chicago held a protest outside the Richard J. Daley Center in The Loop, according to the Chicago Tribune. Named after the Windy City mayor who presided during the violent anti-Vietnam War protests outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Center and its courtyard, Daley Plaza, house a major portion of the Cook County court system, among other things.

Gallery: Trayvon Martin Protests—Chicago

Los Angeles

A number of protests occurred across Los Angeles yesterday, though the most intense involved about 200 people blocking traffic on Interstate 10 in Crenshaw. The demonstration lasted for about half an hour before police officers reportedly fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, according to local media reports.

Known as the 10 Freeway, the road in question is so frequently congested that it inspired a now-dormant parody Twitter account. However during the protests there were, per a local NBC affiliate, “no cars in sight.”

Gallery: Trayvon Martin Protests—Los Angeles

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Tags: public spaceproteststrayvon martin

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1020 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $40/Year
  • Dennis at $5/Month
  • Nikki at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine