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Detroit — Thousands of students, teachers and supporters gathered on the Riverwalk Saturday to take part in the "March For Our Lives" protest to make safety a priority and end the proliferation of school shootings.

The Detroit march joined more than 844 sister marches worldwide on Saturday — including the main march in Washington, D.C. where one million people were expected — spurred by last month’s deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting are rallying for stricter gun control laws in Washington D.C. after 17 of their classmates were killed and another 17 inured. 

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D. — Southfield) spoke at the Detroit rally in Hart Plaza after she marched alongside students. She applauded the “historic movement” spearheaded by millennials. 

“This is a phenomenal moment in history to see young people stand up and fight against mass shootings,” Lawrence said. “This is something we haven’t seen since young people stood up against the Vietnam War... They have me energized and ready to fight to make change.” 

With the recent spending bill signed by President Donald Trump, this movement is something Congress and the current administration can’t ignore, Lawrence said. 

“These silent lawmakers, all they want to talk about is the protection of guns. What about the protection of people? This is what we needed and this is sparking change.”

The march comes 10 days after the National Student Walkout to protest gun violence that mobilized students across the country.

Scott Craig, a teacher at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, marched for his students and his own protection. He said his classes spent four days talking about how they feel. 

“They think they’re the generation of mass shootings and that’s not right,” the 63-year-old Southfield resident said. “The security measures we would need would cost a fortune. The only solution is reducing sales of assault weapons.” 

Students Aly Johnson and Hassan Bazzi of Churchill High School in Livonia agreed that the problem isn’t just the availability of guns but the ignoring of warning signs. 

“It’s like that PSA commercial Sandy Hook parents made, no one's looking out for the troubled kids that showed warning signs of a planned shooting,” said Johnson, 17. 

“We have to watch on social media, make it harder for people to obtain guns and end this epidemic... that’s why we march,” said Bazzi, 18. 

Sally Sweeney, 62, was an elementary teacher for 30 years and recently retired as a short term professor from Schoolcraft College. She said she’s motivated by seeing students take the lead. 

“Great kids are stepping up and doing something adults haven’t,” said the Royal Oak resident. “We shouldn’t have guns in schools. It’s not the job of education faculty...we don’t need weapons. We need school supplies.” 

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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