Paul McCartney took part in the #MarchForOurLives gun control rally for a very touching reason
“One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here."
Hundreds of thousands of teenagers, parents and concerned citizens marched in cities around the world at the weekend to rally for stricter gun control in the United States.
The #MarchForOurLives protests came a little more than a month after 17 school kids were shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Surviving students like Emma González were also joined by celebrities and high-profile figures, including Paul McCartney.
The Beatles legend, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘We Can End Gun Violence,’ took part in a march in New York City on Saturday with his wife Nancy Shevell.
He told CNN about his intensely personal and touching reason for taking part in the rally – that his friend and former bandmate John Lennon was killed with a gun not far from the march route.
McCartney said: “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me.”
Questioned on whether he thinks gun control laws could be successful, he said: “You know, I’m like everyone, I don’t know.
“But this is what we can do, so I’m here to do it.”
Lennon was infamously killed by Mark David Chapman in Manhattan in 1980 with four shots to the back at close range. Chapman, who has claimed he killed Lennon for ‘instant notoriety,’ pleaded guilty to the crime and remains in prison.
Here are a few more highlights from the emotional weekend…
1. Power of silence
Parkland shooting survivor Emma González, who has emerged as a powerful spokeswoman and leader of the new youth movement, stayed silent to mark the length of time it took the killer to gun down her fellow students.
2. The racism of gun violence
Naomi Wadler, 11, stunned the nation with her powerful speech about how African-American women and girls suffer from gun violence but are so often ignored by the media.
3. Martin Luther King’s legacy
The nine-year-old granddaughter of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Yolanda Renee King, made a surprise appearance and shared her “dream that enough is enough.”
4. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew were all shot dead in 2008, performed a cover of the Bob Dylan song The Times They Are a-Changin’.
5. Inspirational placards
Protesters marched with a host of powerful and memorable messages on their placards - check out a selection right here.