Thousands Demonstrate for 'Jena 6'

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In the rural town of Jena, Louisiana today—a town of 3000 people, thousands showed up for a demonstration reminiscent of the civil rights movement of the 1960's and 70's. What sparked the demonstration is the following: A year ago, a black high school student asked school officials if he could break tradition and sit under a tree where whites congregate. Shortly afterward, nooses were hung on the tree; the local District Attorney says there is no law under which anyone could be charged for such a provocative action. In the meantime, after a fight, during which a white student was bloodied and knocked unconscious, six black students were charged with attempted murder. Mychal Bell has been convicted of aggravated battery and was to be sentenced today, but an appeals court overthrew the conviction, saying he should not have been tried as an adult. Civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton held the demonstration anyway.




Warren Olney