SAN FRANCISCO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of students from schools in the Bay Area in northern California rallied Friday as part of a National School Walkout to protest against gun-related violence and called for tighter gun control.

The students gathered outside San Jose City Hall, about 72 kilometers south of downtown San Francisco, observing a moment of silence for the 13 people who were shot and killed in the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999.

Friday's protests were staged to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, in which two teens went on a shooting spree on April 20, 1999, killing 12 students and one teacher, and injuring 21 others, before they committed suicide.

Nationwide there are about 2,600 more of these walkouts, and at least 30 events were staged in the Bay Area to advocate stricter gun laws.

"This is our time for change, for our generation to speak up, and the students are being impacted by gun violence," said a girl from the protesting groups.

"Nobody should be afraid of going to school, (and) it should be a place of safety," she added.

"There's something about this generation that gets it, about the fact that their voice matters and about the fact that they should care about the future of this country," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who went out to support the students.

Similar protests also took place in downtown San Francisco, where a large group of students from San Francisco Unified School District rallied outside the City Hall, urging lawmakers to pass bills to enforce tougher gun control on campus.