Busload after busload of civil rights marchers alighted in Jena, La., today to support the “Jena Six,” a group of black students charged with felonies after a 2006 fight with a white classmate. An estimated 50,000 mostly-black protesters easily outnumbered the mostly-white population of the town, where racial tensions have swirled since last year when nooses in the schoolyard prompted the fight.
The town is worried the protests will lead to violence, the Chicago Tribune reports, and protesters complained that portable toilets were strategically placed to thwart their demonstrations. Though the case has drawn national criticism, some Jena residents think it's overblown. “Our town is not racist like this is being depicted,” said one resident. “The nooses were just a joke.”