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A Week After Zimmerman Acquittal, Protest Rallies Planned

People march in Washington on Friday during a demonstration against the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network says it has organized rallies and vigils in 100 cities across the country to press for civil rights charges against George Zimmerman after he was acquitted in last year's fatal shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin.

A week after a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty, accepting his claim of self-defense, Sharpton's National Action Network called for the "Justice for Trayvon" vigils.

CNN showed video of one rally in Miami that appeared to have attracted dozens of people.

The vigils follow remarks by President Obama on Friday in which he acknowledged that "Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago."

The president went on to say that African-Americans aren't naive, that they understand that young black men are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system both as suspects and victims. But, he added, that's no reason a 17-year-old like Martin should be treated differently than anyone else.

"Folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys," the president said. "But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel there's no context for it. And that context is being denied."

Martin's brother and parents were expected to attend a vigil in New York. Organizers said gatherings were also set for for Los Angeles, Des Moines, Iowa, and Little Rock, Ark.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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