POLITICS
02/19/2018 15:10 EST | Updated 02/19/2018 15:10 EST

High School Students Lead Protest Against Gun Violence In Front Of White House

Dozens of teens staged the "lie in" just days after a school shooter killed 17 in Florida.

WASHINGTON ― Dozens of students gathered in front of the White House on Monday to demand changes to gun laws, just days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead.

The demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington, D.C., area in the wake of Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Protesters participated in what they said would be a three-minute "lie in," which began around 12:30 p.m. on Presidents Day. They lay down in front of the White House "in representation of the victims of school shootings," according to a post on the group's Facebook page.

"By doing this, we will make a statement on the atrocities which have been committed due to the lack of gun control, and send a powerful message to our government that they must take action now," the group wrote on Facebook.

Following the lie-in, protesters continued to hold signs in support of stricter guns laws and shouted phrases including "Shame on you" and "Disarm hate" toward the White House. The group also chanted "No more deaths," "Am I next?" and "Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids have you killed today?"

Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Protesters hold signs during the demonstration against gun violence.

Elodie Camus, a 15-year-old student at the British International School of Washington, D.C., participated in the White House protest Monday with her mother.

U.S. gun laws "have put so many people in danger over the years in this country and there needs to be reform," Camus told HuffPost, adding that she no longer feels "safe at all" at school.

"Something needs to be changed so not as many people are harmed," she said.

Last week's massacre at the South Florida high school, in which a 19-year-old former student opened fire using an assault-style rifle, sparked protests and calls to action from students nationwide.

A group of students who survived the Parkland shooting have been outspoken in their criticism of President Donald Trump and lawmakers who receive financial contributions from gun lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association. On Sunday, the students announced plans for a march on Washington to demand congressional action on gun violence.

Felicia Garber, whose two daughters survived the Parkland shooting, was in D.C. with her family when she heard about Monday's protest. She decided to attend the demonstration with a few other parents.

"We felt it was important to be present and thank the people who felt it was worth coming out here on this cold, dreary, rainy holiday to help let whoever is in this beautiful White House know that we will not take this any longer," Garber told HuffPost.

"These legislators need to step up for our children and not just for these lobbyists," she continued. "[Parkland] kids are smart, educated, savvy ... and they are outraged. These are young adults who are ready and unforgiving, and I can only hope this is the beginning of the change they can create for our country."

Several other student-led protests against gun violence erupted across Florida on Monday. Students staged a walk out at Olympic Heights Community High School in West Boca Raton, while parents joined their kids in front of American Heritage School in Plantation just 30 miles to the south.

See video and more photos of the D.C. protest below:

  • Zach Gibson/Getty Images
    Protesters lie on the ground during a demonstration supporting gun control.
  • Zach Gibson/Getty Images
    Demonstrators chant during Monday's protest.
  • Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
    Students and supporters hold signs as they protest outside the White House.
  • Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
    Students protest against gun violence.
  • Zach Gibson/Getty Images
    Demonstrators chant outside the White House.
  • Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
    Students and supporters gather on Pennsylvania Avenue.