In parts of East and Central Africa, a group called the "The Lords Resistance Army" has been abducting children for more than 20 years, pressing them into service as soldiers. A war that was originally contained in Uganda has evolved into a regional crisis, prompting international attention. A non-profit group called "Invisible Children" is working to keep attention on the conflict and on the victims of the war and is pressing the U.S. government and the international community to act.
These marchers in New York City represent the thousands of children in Africa who have been abducted and forced to fight on behalf of the Lord's Resistance Army, a guerilla army based in northern Uganda.
The LRA has been fighting since 1987 to overthrow Uganda's government. LRA chief Joseph Kony has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, charged with murder, sexual enslavement and rape.
But he is still at large and participants at this rally complain that his victims have yet to capture widespread attention.
In New York, and in 99 other cities around the world, people came out by the thousands recently to demonstrate against Kony and his use of child soldiers.
In gestures mimicking the plight of child soldiers, participants abducted themselves, marched in line across New York's Brooklyn Bridge, and camped out at a mock LRA base.
Event organizers hope gatherings like this one, sponsored by the group Invisible Children, will encourage US lawmakers to take action.
Bethany Bylsma is an event organizer for the group. "We will have everyone write two letters to the congressman of the state they represent," she said. "And we will present these congressmen and women with letters from these constituents all over the world asking them to make the war in Central and East Africa a priority because it isn't a priority right now."
Demonstrators like 28-year-old Sidi Njie, who was born in Guinea, hope to help change that. "If you talk to a group of people and only one person take you serious, you should be happy, because you never know what that one person gonna do, so," Njie said.
Richard Slesinski, a school teacher, says he heard about the event from one of his students and came to show support. "I can't even imagine what it would be like to have a child abducted from your home in the middle of the night, and then to have to go on like that, and to feel so helpless," he said. "That's another reason I'm here, just to give those parents who lost their children some hope that there's other people out there who care about them and who want to help them and hopefully bring their children home."
According to Invisible Children, more than 2,500 people showed up at this New York event, raising awareness and money for the cause.