NEWARK - The hip-hop artist and actor Common turned out for one of the largest anti-violence demonstrations Newark has ever seen Saturday.
About 5,000 "Occupy" activists rallied at one of the Brick City's busiest intersections, Broad Street and Market Street, officials say.
This past spring, Common was dropped as commencement speaker at Kean University after an outcry from law enforcement over a song he wrote supporting Assata Shakur, whose real name is Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard is a fugitive living in Cuba who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper.
The event occurred a day before the anniversary of the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. However, the focus was not on anti-police sentiment, participants said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has previously attended "Occupy the Block" gatherings to listen to city residents.
"There's many times when I watched TV and felt discouraged about what's going on in my city," Baraka said. "Today is not that day."