Students nationwide protest gun 'inaction' with school walkout

Students nationwide protest gun 'inaction' with school walkout

- in US

PARKLAND, Fla. — They solemnly spilled onto the high school football field, holding signs protesting gun violence and wearing shirts that read “March for our lives.” They waved at a crowd of onlookers who had gathered to show support.

Exactly one month after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School here in Parkland, survivors of the massacre joined tens of thousands of students across the U.S. in a national walkout Wednesday morning.

The 10 a.m. protest lasted 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims killed at the high school. The purpose, according to organizers, was to highlight “Congress’ inaction against the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

Organized by the Women’s March, an estimated 185,000 people in 50 states joined the walkout. Approximately 3,100 schools said they were going to participate, an organizer told NBC News ahead of the walkout.

In Washington, D.C., a crowd in the thousands gathered, holding signs toward the White House with slogans such as “Books Not Bullets” and “Fire Politicians, Not Guns” on them.

At the stroke of 10 a.m., the crowd sat down en masse, their backs to the White House, and started a 17-minute-long moment of silence. Afterwards, some marched to Capitol Hill, with plans to meet with legislators.

In Parkland, the crowd cheered as students exited the high school and gathered in the center of the football field. Some onlookers yelled “We love you!” to the students.

The emotional walkout was too intense for Stoneman Douglas junior Susana Matta Valdivieso, who decided to leave early.

“Today marks one month and seeing the crowd all over again with the media (outside) is harsh,” she told MSNBC’s Rehema Ellis.

Image: Students leave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Students leave Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, during Wednesday’s walkout.