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Dad of Parkland victim climbs crane near W.House in gun control protest

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Manuel Oliver, whose son died in a Florida school shooting in 2018, displays a banner from a crane near the White House calling for action against gun violence./AFP
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Feb 15, 2022 - 02:44 AM

WASHINGTON — The father of a teenager killed in a mass shooting at a Florida high school four years ago climbed a giant crane near the White House on Monday to urge President Joe Biden to take action against gun violence.

Joaquin Oliver, 17, was one of 17 people who died when a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.

His father, Manuel, scaled a giant crane at a construction site near the White House in downtown Washington early on Monday and unveiled a banner with a picture of his slain son.

“45K People Died From Gun Violence on Your Watch,” the banner said.

He was arrested by police when he climbed down.

Standing at the foot of the crane, Joaquin’s mother, Patricia, told AFP her pain is “everywhere.”

“That makes you feel that you’ve got to do something because there’s more situations happening due to gun violence,” she said.

“We’re showing that to the president because we need the president to take action,” she said. “We need more action that works.”

In December, the couple spent three weeks outside the White House demanding a meeting with Biden. They finally met with an aide but “since that conversation, nothing happened,” Patricia Oliver said.

She said Monday’s protest coincided with the launch of a campaign called “Shock Market” which is “about showing in real time how many people die in America due to gun violence.”

On its website, Shock Market said “President Biden has fallen far short of the gun violence reform he promised during his campaign.”

In a statement on Monday, Biden marked the anniversary of the Parkland shooting and said his administration “stands with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence.”

“It was the deadliest high school shooting in a nation with far too many of them, and it left another community — and our country — shattered by grief,” Biden said.

“On this difficult day, we mourn with the Parkland families whose lives were upended in an instant,” he said. “We pray too for those still grappling with wounds both visible and invisible.”

The Parkland shooting spawned a student-led protest movement for gun control but advocates of tougher gun laws have been unable to get any meaningful measures through Congress.

In his statement, Biden said “Congress must do much more — beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.”

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