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gun control

'One of my best friends was killed right around here': McCartney remembers John Lennon at New York march

More than a million people took to the streets across the US yesterday to call for tighter gun control.

CNN / YouTube

PAUL MCCARTNEY REMEMBERED his friend and fellow Beatles star John Lennon yesterday as he called for an end to gun violence during the New York ‘March for our Lives’.

The musician was one of more than a million people who took to the streets of cities across the US calling for tighter gun control.

The marches were spearheaded by teenagers from a Florida high school where 17 people were shot dead last month.

Speaking to a CNN reporter McCartney said “I don’t know” if we can end gun violence, “but this is what we can do, so I’m here to do it”.

He added:

One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me.

Speaking to AFP later, he said:

Every week you hear about a new shooting and nothing is done about it. But I think maybe after this something will be done about it.

Lennon was shot dead on 8 December, 1980 at his apartment building near Central Park in New York.

The man who killed him, Mark David Chapman, was denied parole for a ninth time in 2016 and can next be considered for possible release this August.

NBC News / YouTube

At the largest rally of the day, Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, told the crowd that politicians need to “either represent the people or get out”.

“Stand for us or beware — the voters are coming,” said Kasky, one of the leaders of the student movement which has emerged following the 14 February shooting at his school.

Large crowds also turned out for demonstrations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Seattle and other cities – more than 800 in all, according to organisers.

But the largest protest was in Washington, where organisers told NBC News the crowd was estimated at more than 800,000 people, the largest gun control rally in the United States since the Million Mom March in 2000.

Signs carried by protestors lambasted lawmakers who oppose tougher laws and the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful US gun lobby.

937572038 The crowd in Washington DC SOPA Images SOPA Images

Thousands meanwhile gathered in Parkland to pay tribute to those slain in the city on Valentine’s Day.

The protesters met at Parkland’s Pine Trails Park, the same place where a sombre vigil was held in the wake of the attack at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school.

US President Donald Trump was in Florida as marchers gathered in Washington but the White House issued a statement.

“We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today,” it said.

Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s.

In Scotland, some relatives of those killed in the 1996 Dunblane shooting attended a protest in Edinburgh.

In Dublin, protesters also gathered outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge.

- With reporting by AFP 

Read: ‘No more silence’: Hundreds of thousands march for gun control in the US >

Read: ‘He gave his life for another’: Policeman killed in supermarket siege was decorated for his bravery in Iraq >

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