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Thousands rally across the US to demand tighter gun laws

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PARKLAND — Tens of thousands of Americans have gathered across the country at March For Our Lives rallies on Saturday to demand tighter gun laws, led by survivors of last month’s Florida school massacre.

Students from the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people were killed on February 14 called on politicians and US President Donald Trump to confront the issue.

One of Parkland survivor, David Hogg, said it was a new day. “You can hear the people in power shaking,” he said to loud applause.

“We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run not as politicians, but as Americans. Because this — this is not cutting it.”

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The protests aim to break a legislative gridlock that has long stymied efforts to increase restrictions on firearms sales in a nation where mass shootings at schools and colleges have become a frighteningly frequent occurrence.

Organisers said as many as 500,000 people were expected to demonstrate near the Capitol in Washington and call on Congress to fight gun violence.

“I don’t want any child to be seen as another statistic,” Ashley Schlaeger, an 18-year-old freshman at Ohio State University who drove to the Washington rally with friends, said.

Parkland student Emma Gonzalez also addressed the masses.

“Six minutes and about 20 seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community, was forever altered,” she said.

With Reuters Inputs

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

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Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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