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Crime

National die-in planned for anniversary of Pulse shooting

Josh Jackman May 30, 2018
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Student activists participate in a 'die-in' to protest gun violence at Washington Square Park, near the campus of New York University, April 20, 2018 in New York City. On the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting, student activists across the country are participating in school walkouts to demand action on gun reform. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(Drew Angerer/Getty)

Activists are organising a dramatic die-in to commemorate the second anniversary of the Pulse massacre.

A total of 49 people were killed at Orlando’s Pulse gay club during the horrific mass shooting in June 2016 when gunman Omar Mateen, who had pledged support for ISIS, opened fire on the crowd.

At the time it was the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, though it has since been surpassed.

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: People hold candles as they attend a one year anniversary memorial service for victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub being held at Lake Eola Park on June 12, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the club a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle/Getty)

The National Die-In will take place in Washington DC, at the National Mall, on June 12 – and with the help of Parkland survivors, organisers hope to attract as many as 100,000 participants.

One of the event’s founders, Orlando campaigner Amanda Fugleberg, lives 15 minutes from the site of the shooting. She said that the massacre had deeply shaken her.

(nationaldiein/twitter)

“It was the first news I saw when I woke up that day and I remember the death toll just rising,” she told Advocate.

“It brought me to tears to know something like that happened so close.”

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: Melinda Vargas and Natascha Soto (L-R) visit the memorial setup outside the Pulse gay nightclub as they remember those lost one year ago during a mass shooting on June 12, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the club a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle/Getty)

The die-in will last for 12 minutes, with each of the 720 seconds representing a victim who has died in a mass shooting since the Pulse massacre.

She has reached out to David Hogg, who has spoken out for better gun legislation in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February that left 17 dead.

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Students Kelsey Friend (L) and David Hogg recount their stories about yesterday's mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested the suspect after a short manhunt, and have identified him as 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
David Hogg (Mark Wilson/Getty)

She said that Hogg, who recently led a successful die-in campaign against Publix over its support of a National Rifle Association-backed candidate for Governor, had expressed strong support for the event.

Survivors from Parkland and Pulse met each other earlier this year, in an emotional event which saw attendees stand together as the names of the 66 victims of both mass shootings were read aloud.

CORAL SPRINGS, FL - MAY 25: Protesters participate in a "die'-in" protest in a Publix supermarket on May 25, 2018 in Coral Springs, Florida. The activists many of whom are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students entered the Publix store to protest against the company's support of political candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association who oppose gun reform. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The Publix die-in (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Fugleberg, who is arranging the die-in with fellow activist Frank Kravchuk, started planning it less than two weeks ago, in conjunction with a march on June 11 in Orlando led by Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf.

In the space of 10 days, the campaign has attracted more than 1,000 followers on Twitter, with attention on the event expected to ramp up in the coming days.

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: Dillon Caldwell places a candle in the memorial setup outside the Pulse gay nightclub as he remembers those lost one year ago during a mass shooting on June 12, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the club a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle/Getty)

In terms of where she stands on gun control, Fugleberg said: “I’d like to see universal background checks, which right now are not great considering the Pulse shooter was able to acquire guns when he’d been on an FBI watch list.”

More: david hogg, Florida, national die-in, Orlando, parkland, Pulse, shooting, US, US, Washington DC

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