Call for Florida boycott after Zimmerman acquittal

Call for Florida boycott after Zimmerman acquittal

Outrage at the acquittal of the killer of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida has led to calls for a tourism boycott of the state.

A petition launched in the US on is demanding a boycott until Florida overturns its Stand Your Ground law which justifies the use of a gun in self-defence.

Martin’s killer George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter a week ago despite admitting following the 17-year-old and shooting him dead in February 2012.

The verdict led to protests across the US, including in New York’s Times Square, with demonstrations and vigils planned in more than 100 cities this weekend.

The “Boycott Florida” petition, which declares the state “is not a safe place to vacation”, attracted thousands of signatures within days.

Petition founder Chris Bergman said: “Florida is not a safe place to take your family as long as Florida law permits a citizen to shoot or kill you for merely looking suspicious.

“If the murder of Trayvon Martin is not enough to get lawmakers’ attention, maybe a loss of revenue to the state will be.”

Protestors have camped outside the Florida governor’s office in Tallahassee demanding action, while other campaigners launched a boycottFloridatourism Facebook page and #BoycottFlorida on Twitter.

Singer Stevie Wonder has pledged not to perform in Florida until the law is repealed.

US attorney general Eric Holder called for a review of stand your ground laws, passed in a majority of US states since Florida passed the first in 2005.

Florida attracted 91 million tourists last year, most of them domestic visitors. The state is the leading US destination for British visitors.

Sanford, where the killing occurred, is home to Orlando-Sanford airport where UK charter passengers fly into Florida – including Thomson Airways’ new Boeing 787 services.

The US Travel Weekly reported tourism officials were reluctant to comment on the boycott “as the debate plays out across social media, news outlets and outdoor rallies”.


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