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Philly backs down

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Supporters of internationally known death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrated a victory recently when Philadelphia city officials reversed themselves to allow thousands of participants to join in a rally and march set for Saturday.

Prior to last week’s reversal, the coalition of 500 groups organizing the event vowed to rally en masse despite a permit from the city that would have allowed only 500 protesters in a "ceremonial parade."

The demonstration is to demand a new trial for Abu-Jamal, who was found guilty of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. His supporters charge he was convicted unfairly because of police and judicial misconduct.

Abayomi Azekwe, spokesman for the local Coalition to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, says two busloads of marchers from Detroit will attend.

The controversial case has divided the City of Brotherly Love into hostile camps with the police and their supporters urging Pennsylvania’s governor to set an early execution date for Abu-Jamal. Friday night, city officials plan to block off a section of the city for a memorial dinner to honor the officer slain almost 20 years ago.

Reservations for the Philadelphia-bound buses are available by calling 313-869-8383 or 313-628-4932.

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