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Thousands march in Washington to stop Darfur killing

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) Several thousand Americans, led by religious leaders, entertainers and politicians, marched to urge the United States to halt ''genocide'' in Sudan's Darfur region.

''Darfur deserves to live. We are its only hope,'' Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel told the crowd that converged on the National Mall in Washington, near the U S Capitol yesterday.

Other speakers at the rally included Washington's Roman Catholic Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Illinois Democratic Sen. Barak Obama and actor George Clooney, who visited Darfur last week.

Beating African drums and waving posters saying ''Stop Genocide Now,'' the mostly white crowd had responded to a call from 160 religious, political and humanitarian organizations representing virtually all shades of U.S. opinion.

There was no immediate estimate of the size of the crowd but organisers said in advance they expected 10,000 to 15,000 people.

Smaller rallies were also taking place in 18 other U S cities, making this the largest public demonstration on the issue since the conflict in Darfur began three years ago.

''We know the march is not the beginning and end of it but it's an improvement,'' said Rabbi Shawn Zevit, director of outreach for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.

''It is a show of solidarity, given the United States is one of few countries trying to exert pressure. There is momentum right now and the feeling we can influence things,'' he said.

More Reuters SHB DB0941

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