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Hundred of thousands march in Rome to demand freedom for kidnapped reporter

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Some 500,000 people gathered today in Rome to march silently, demanding the liberation of Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter who was kidnapped on February 4 in Iraq.

Politicians, associations and citizens took part in the gathering, set up by the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto, Sgrena's employer. According to demonstrators there were 500,000 people, while the Police estimates a turnout of 200,000.

"The march is a way to say, loud and clear, that we want Giuliana Sgrena to be freed... to say no to terrorism and violence", Piero Fassino, leader of the Democratici di Sinistra (Democrats of the Left) party, said.

Giuliana Sgrena was kidnapped near Baghdad's University on February 4 while she was covering Iraqi elections for Il Manifesto. On February 15 Associated Press Television received a video showing Sgrena demanding help from Italian politicians and people, and asking for Italian troop's withdrawal from Iraq.

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