Supporters of an Army private who sent troves of classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks rallied outside Maryland's Fort Meade ahead Pfc. Bradley Manning's court-martial.
Members of the Bradley Manning Support Network and others gathered Saturday near Fort Meade's main gate before marching about a mile south along US 175 to a rally site at Llewellynn Avenue. Route 175 was closed in both directions to accommodate the march.
Organizers said that nearly 2,000 people attended the rally. Most came from the northeast, but others came from as far afield as Michigan, Montreal, and Mexico City.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers published in The New York Times and The Washington Post in 1971, was among the demonstrators who spoke.
Manning's trial is scheduled to begin Monday. The 25-year-old Oklahoma native is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by sending classified material to WikiLeaks. Manning has said he wanted the public to know how the American military was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with little regard for human life.
The Bradley Manning Support Network is paying Manning's legal fees during the court-martial. To date, over $1.25 million has been contributed to his defense effort.