Dozens of students have staged a “lie-in” outside the White House to demand presidential action on stricter gun control laws.
Parents and teachers joined teenagers in laying at the gates of the White House on Monday local time in protest over US gun laws they say allowed a 19-year-old man to kill 17 people in a school shooting in Florida.
Protesters crossed their arms over their chests while others stood holding American flags and signs that read “Am I next?”
The group, known as Teens for Gun Reform, had 17 members lie down to symbolise the victims of Wednesday’s tragedy, according to media reports.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas school attack was the deadliest high school shooting in US history.
“We have organised this protest in solidarity with all of those who were affected by the horrific school shooting in Florida last Wednesday,” the organisation said in a statement.
“We call on President Trump and leaders from both parties to finally act in the interest of America’s youth and end these tragic mass shootings!”
LIVE PROTEST: D.C. teenagers are staging a lie-in at the White House to stand with victims of the Florida school shooting and call for gun reform. Caroline Patrickis is live at the lie-in.Details: http://bit.ly/2EDaDlk
Posted by ABC 7 News – WJLA on Monday, February 19, 2018
Ella Fesler, a 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, said, “It’s really important to express our anger and the importance of finally trying to make a change and having gun control in America.”
“Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”
The protest comes as the White House announced Mr Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases.
“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
However, some students reacted with caution to the Mr Trump’s support for gun reform.
“We want to prevent mass shootings from happening, and while this could have happened with other types of weapons, NeverAgain believes school safety should be priority right now, not just background checks,” 18-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Kali Clougherty said.
“This is about the victims. Don’t forget that, we never will.”
Previous mass shootings in the US have also stirred outrage and calls for action to tighten gun laws, with few results in congress.
Students are planning a “March For Our Lives” protest in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.