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Rally held at Old Courthouse for "Jena Six"

Protesters gather outside the courthouse.

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – African-American demonstrators rallied in downtown St. Louis on Thursday in support of the so-called Jena 6.

The rally is one of many happening across the nation at the same time thousands have turned out in Jena, La., to support the six black teenagers facing charges for assaulting of a white classmate.

Over 200 people turned out on the steps of the Old Courthouse the same courthouse where the Dred Scott slavery case was heard 150 years ago.

Zaki Baruti of the National Coalition for Justice said the message is simple.

"St. Louisans stand in solidarity with blacks nationally, demanding real justice in Jena, Louisiana."

Baruti says the charges against the Jena Six are a clear example of a racist double standard that exists for blacks in America.

Redditt Hudson works for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.

"The response that these young men got in Jena was wildly disproportionate to what took place when those white young men down there were assaulting people and committing crimes and hanging nooses," says Hudson.

"...and that is the spirit in which these people are protesting. All we are saying is that we want equal treatment under the law."

Similar rallies are being held in cities across the country.

People from around the St. Louis region boarded buses late Wednesday night for the ten hour bus ride to Jena to be part of the mass demonstration being held Thursday.

Civil rights organizers will demonstrate outside of city hall on Friday in support of Fire Department Chief Sherman George.

George faces disciplinary action from the mayor for refusing to promote white officer candidates.

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