Thousands march across US to demand voting rights protection

Thousands of people are demonstrating in the United States capital and in several cities across the country to demand voting rights protection amid a barrage of state-level legislation that would impose ballot restrictions.

Held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic 1963 March on Washington, organisers of the “March On For Voting Rights” rally say the efforts to curb voting access disproportionately affect people of colour.

In Washington, DC protesters holding “Black Lives Matter” flags and signs calling for federal legislation marched from McPherson Square towards the final meeting point at the National Mall, where King gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech 58 years ago.

Other marches were planned in Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, and dozens of other US cities.

“We will make history on Saturday” by picking up “the torch for justice my father and so many others carried”, said Martin Luther King III, the civil rights leader’s son, who was one of several speakers at the demonstration in Washington, DC.

“I just feel like we just kind of went backwards,” Rikkea Harris, a 25-year-old student who travelled from Colorado with her father, Rickey Harris, to take part in the rally, told the AFP news agency.

Americans should “do their part in trying to knock down all these voting suppression laws that they’re putting in across the country”, added her father, 65.

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