Teens protest outside White House to demand stricter gun laws
“Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again,” said Ella Fesler, 16
Dozens of teenage school pupils lay on the pavement in front of the White House on Monday to demand presidential action on gun control and symbolise the 17 killed in a school shooting in Florida.
The teenagers, who were also joined by parents, educators and younger children, held their arms crossed at their chests. Two activists were covered by an American flag. One held a sign asking, “Am I Next?”
Ella Fesler, a 16-year-old high school pupil 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.”
She added: “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”
The pupils lay on the ground outside the White House for three minutes at a time in an effort to symbolise the short amount of time it took alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz to claim 17 lives at his former school.
US President Donald Trump was not present at the White House to witness the protest in person; he was at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, some 40 miles (64 kilometres) from the site of the school shooting.
Trump has been in Florida for the weekend, and remained there on Monday, which was Presidents Day, a national holiday in the US.
He spent his time largely at his Mar-a-Lago estate as White House aides advised him against golfing too soon after a deadly school shooting in a nearby community.
The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether the president was playing golf Monday. The president also visited the golf club Sunday evening.
An avid golfer, Trump heads to one of his courses almost every weekend.
President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a holiday just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist.
He later said he “should’ve anticipated the optics” of immediately going to play golf.