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July 13, 2013

Jesse Jackson calls for calm as Zimmerman awaits verdict

Jurors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder case in Floridaresumed their deliberations for a second day on Saturday, as the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson issued a public appeal for calm ahead of a potential verdict.

The panel of six women returned to the courthouse in Sanford at 9am, to continue sifting through almost three weeks of testimony and evidence from the neighbourhood watch leader's trial for shootingTrayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. Police in Sanford andMiami, Martin's home town, say they are prepared for the possibility of unrest if Zimmerman, 29, is acquitted, and insist they will not tolerate a violent reaction.

Reverend Jackson was one of the black leaders who led peaceful protests in Sanford and elsewhere soon after the shooting on 26 February last year, when Zimmerman was originally released without charge. Speaking at a peace rally in Chicago, and in a series of Tweets, Jackson said the public reaction to the verdict, whichever way it goes, needs to be tempered.

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