March for our Lives Protests Planned for 800 Places Across the World

Hundreds of thousands of marchers are expected to descend on Washington DC on Saturday for a landmark gun control rally as calls for reform reach a fever pitch following the Parkland school shooting last month.

March for Our Lives events led by young people in over 800 locations around the world – including London, Sydney, Tokyo, Mumbai, plus hundreds of places in the US – will also take place as demonstrators demand that the US Congress, for decades dormant on gun control, pass sweeping legislative change.

The rally, organized by teenaged survivors of the 14 February school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead, marks a shift in America’s gun control debate. All of the featured speakers at the rally will be teenagers, a spokeswoman for the march said, reflecting the frustration of the young gun control activists, who say the death of their classmates has forced them to tackle a crisis that adults have failed for decades to prevent.

Donald Trump, who has flip-flopped on his support for gun control measures and vowed to support the NRA, which spent more than $30m to back his campaign for the White House, left town on Friday evening and flew to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.

Donald Trump departs the White House for Mar-a-Lago.

The rally organizers say that they support Americans’ basic right to own guns, but they are demanding that Congress ban the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines often used in high-profile mass shootings, as well as close loopholes in the nation’s background check requirements for gun sales.

A new survey of American teenagers and young adults found that gun violence was at the top of the list of issues they found most worrying. Americans under 18 were especially concerned, with 53% of them describing gun violence as a major worry.

The USA Today/Ipsos poll found that more than one in three young people were planning to join the March for Our Lives protests, either in person or via social media.

Sheryl Acquaroli, a 16-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, said she knew immediately she would travel to Washington to join the march. “It’s going to be very revolutionary,” she said. “We are going to change laws there, and I want to be part of that change.”

Jon White, 47, whose daughter Katrina fled the school during the shooting, said: “I don’t have a lot of confidence in my generation. I believe in millennials. They’re going to make a difference.”

Among the performers at the Saturday rally are Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.

As hundreds of students from Stoneman Douglas make the 1,000-mile journey to the nation’s capital, the Guardian announced an editorial collaboration with the school’s award-winning newspaper, the Eagle Eye.

On Friday, student editors took control of the Guardian’s website and published an array of articles, including an interview with independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who told them he believed the NRA’s grip on Congress “may be breaking a bit” because of their campaigning.

The Eagle Eye also published a manifesto of demands, including a call to ban the sale of high velocity semi-automatic weapons, expand background checks, and raise the minimum purchase age of rifles to 21.

Members of the Eagle Eye’s editorial staff will also travel to Washington to cover the march as special correspondents for the Guardian.

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