By Gina Mace
Special to the Beacon Journal
CUYAHOGA FALLS: Plans for a rally to protest the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case have some in Cuyahoga Falls concerned.
The call on social media sites, including Facebook, asks those upset with the verdict in the Florida case to gather in Falls River Square on Sunday.
Falls officials are concerned that whoever is promoting the event has not contacted the city or sought a permit for the space.
Falls Development Director Sue Truby said the space is already rented out to organizers of this weekend’s Festa Italiana.
Martin, 17, was shot and killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder on Saturday after a two-week jury trial. The verdict has prompted numerous rallies and protests nationwide.
Vito Testa, who is a member of the Festa Italiana Committee, said “it’s a free country” and folks can protest whatever they want.
But Testa said he is concerned about the rally in the middle of the weekend festival that already has a full slate of events and vendors planned.
“We have the stage and we have a Catholic Mass going on and we definitely don’t want that disturbed,” he said. “We have activities all day long after that.”
Organizers for the Martin rally are asking protesters to show up at 1 p.m.
“We are not an organization. We are not a business. We are just a group of friends — students, volunteers, teachers, engineers etc... — who want to rally in the name of Trayvon Martin,” a post on Facebook states. “We thank you for standing in solidarity with us!”
Truby said the Festa Italiana Committee took out a permit a year ago to use the space.
Attempts to reach the rally organizer via social media were not successful.
Truby said the city would be happy to work with the rally organizers to find an alternative date or venue.
“We would love to give the rally another date,” Truby said. “They just need to contact us and file and pay for a permit.”