Hundreds of Minnesota students gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Friday to call for an end to gun violence and stricter regulations on gun sales. They held signs and chanted, "We the people say no more!"
Rally organizers called for changes including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
"People don't need to have these guns ... We need schools to be a safe environment for people to learn, and have our future grow instead of diminish," said Michael Dietrich, a senior at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.
The rally followed earlier demonstrations around the country in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. It coincided with national student walkouts commemorating the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
Minnesota student leaders aimed to take a broader focus than Friday's national walkouts, which centered on school violence. Students who assembled at the State Capitol called for an end to all gun violence, especially as it affects people of color.
"A lot of times our voice is not heard, and so I think just getting our bodies here to say we are here, we are part of this conversation, you cannot shut us out [is important]," said Alejandro Eduarte, a junior at Edison Senior High School in Minneapolis.
Members of a group called Minnesota Youth Collective circulated during the rally, registering attendees to vote. Eduarte is 16 years old and so not eligible to vote yet but plans to register when the time comes.
"We can go out and protest and we can do all of these sorts of things, but if we do not put pressure on our legislators, the people who have control over our city and state and national governments, then how is there going to be policy change?" Eduarte asked.
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