Chiemelie Ezeobi from Denver, Colorado
Following the recent spike in fatal shootings at schools across America, thousands yesterday gathered at the Civic Centre park, Denver in Colorado, as part of the nationwide protest against gun violence.
The rally, which was followed by a March, was influenced by last monthâ€™s shooting at Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida that claimed 17 lives.
Themed â€˜March for Our Livesâ€™, the protesters included children, teenagers, pregnant women, the old and not excluding the disabled who rolled over on their wheel chairs.
Chanting protest songs, the protesters called for gun control as well as a strict law against gun violence of any kind.
Bearing placards, the protesters called on the congress, comprising the senate and House of Representatives, to not just disarm gun owners but to put out a proper gun control that will checkmate illegitimate gun ownership.
Some of the placards read, â€˜Guns donâ€™t kill, people kill peopleâ€™, â€˜Guns donâ€™t kill until itâ€™s your childâ€™, â€˜Their rights to live trumps your right to an assault weaponâ€™, â€˜Books and not gunsâ€™, â€˜Protect us from guns and its violence since the National Rifle Association (NRA) will notâ€™.
Others read â€˜Action speaks louder than wordsâ€™, We stand against gun violenceâ€™, â€˜Protect out schoolsâ€™, â€˜Congress do your job, gun control nowâ€™, â€˜Hey NRA, you always look the other wayâ€™, â€˜No more bullying with gunsâ€™, â€˜No more thoughts and prayers, we need a policy changeâ€™.
Some read â€˜5,800 children are injured every year by gunsâ€™, â€˜We are the future keep us safeâ€™, â€˜Why is the right to hold a gun higher than the right not to be shot?â€™, â€˜Please donâ€™t shoot me, I am still youngâ€™, â€˜Protect children, not gunsâ€™, and â€˜We want changeâ€™.
Some victims and their families were given opportunities to speak about their ordeal. They recounted their last moments with them before they heard about their death.
They include Rev. Tammy Williams, whose son is a Columbine High School shooting survivor; Tish Beauford, the Womenâ€™s March organiser; Tom Mauser, whose son died during the Columbine shooting.
Others include Ally Olsen and Brooke Engel, both Arapahoe High School shooting survivors; Marcus Weaver, an Aurora theater shooting survivor; Diana Dang, a survivor of the Isla Vista killings near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.
Sam Craig, organiser of Jeffco Students United for Action, Sara Grossman, whose friend died in the Pulse night club shooting in Florida, Olivia Caudil, an 11-year-old activist, Coni Sanders, whose father died during the Columbine shooting and Maddie King – a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting also had their say.
Very poignant was the one minute of silence held for the souls of the dead, after a corporate prayer was held for safety.
Meanwhile, a team of policemen who were flagged off about a lone manâ€™s suspicious behaviour, frisked him and found a pistol and mace on him. Given the non-violent nature of the protest, the pistol was retrieved from him before he was handcuffed and placed under arrest.