Students Rally At ECU For Jena 6

The streets of a small Louisiana town are filled with demonstrators, chanting in support of six black teens charged with beating a white classmate.

The son of the late Martin Luther King says the scene in Jena is reminiscent of earlier civil rights struggles.

Martin Luther King III says while punishment of some sort may be in order for the six defendants, "the justice system isn't applied the same to all crimes and all people."

Today, some East Carolina University students joined the demonstration in spirit. They staged their own rally in Greenville to protest what they claim are excessive charges and bond amounts for the teens.

Many of the ECU students hope their voices will stretch past Eastern Carolina and reach Louisiana. They want today's rally to help spread awareness about the Jena 6 controversy.

The Jena 6 Background
Controversy erupted after prosecutors charged five black teens with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate. The charges were later reduced.

Racial tensions had been high in the town because three nooses
were found in a tree on Jena's high school campus months before the
school fight. Three white students were briefly suspended over the
incident but no charges were filed.

Civil rights activists accused the local prosecutors of being disproportionately harsh on black youths in Jena.

One teen, Mychal Bell, was convicted of aggravated second-degree
battery. A state appeals court threw out his conviction. Bell, who's still in jail while prosecutors appeal, met Wednesday with the Reverend Al Sharpton.

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