"Jena 6" Protest at Justice Dept.

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 2, 2007; 9:37 PM

WASHINGTON -- About 80 protesters chanting "No justice, no peace" gathered outside the Justice Department on Tuesday to demand that federal authorities aggressively investigate the racially charged "Jena 6" case.

"We're here today in solidarity with the Jena 6," shouted Howard University senior Eugene Puryear, the organizer of the event. "All charges should be dropped and the Jena Six should be free."

The event, sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, comes four days after civil rights leaders met with top Justice Department officials to push for more action on behalf of the six black teens arrested for beating a white classmate in Jena, La.

The confrontation followed months of escalating racial tensions touched off when three white students hung nooses from a tree on school grounds.

Protesters on Tuesday, lifting their neon signs high, formed a rotating circle along the shady sidewalk in front of the Justice Department as some drivers in rush hour traffic honked in support.

Department security and police monitored the protest. No one was arrested, Puryear said.

"I think most of us know (the Jena 6 case) is wrong, and it's just a matter of standing up and proving it," said Joann Moore, 51, of Boyds, Md, one of the protesters.

© 2007 The Associated Press