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March Against Violence Held in Cleveland

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Flight delays prevented Reverend Al Sharpton from attending Saturday's march against violence, but several hundred activists and other community members turned out on a rainy day to call for an end to bloodshed in Cleveland. ideastream's Dan Bobkoff has the story.

Monday, October 29, 2007 at 7:41 am

Plans for the rally began before the shootings at SuccessTech Academy, and before the stabbing death of Demesha Sharp, but both incidents added urgency to the rally.

Tahaka Robertson of the National Action Network used the Demesha Sharp killing as a rallying cry.

Tahaka Robertso: When an entire family can go and chase down a little girl, 15 years old, hold the people trying to help at bay, stab a young man 5 or 10 times in the back because they're trying to stop them from doing something to this young lady. The grandma is spraying pepper spray, the other one's got a stun gun. This is ridiculous!

Many, though, praised the community for identifying the suspects in the Sharp case, a contrast to the common "no snitching" mentality, which discourages cooperation with police.

Rally organizer Khalid Samad of Peace in the Hood called for an end to "no snitching".

Khalid Samad: We got a new saying in the 'hood today. Not, "no snitching," but "no slaving." Stop being a slave to racism. Stop being a slave to gangsterism.

As they walked to SuccessTech, the dozens of protesters marched through the otherwise-empty downtown streets. They followed a hearse carrying a symbolic empty coffin. Samad said he hoped it stays empty all weekend.