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11/04/2011

Thousands Back 'Not In My Name' Rally

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Thousands of people gathered in Omagh on Sunday to take part in a walk for peace and to mark the death of Constable Ronan Kerr.

The 25-year-old recruit (pictured) died when a bomb exploded under his car in the town last weekend.

Dissident republicans have been blamed and the murder has sparked widespread condemnation across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The organizers of the 'Not In My Name' rally have said they want to send a clear message to those responsible who want to take Northern Ireland back to the violence of the past.

Those attending, including family and friends of Constable Kerr, held a minute's silence in his memory.

There were also rallies held in Belfast, Enniskillen and London.

Mr Kerr's cousin, Sinead O'Kane, attended the rally in Omagh and said she wanted dissident republicans to end their campaign.

She added: "It has to stop now, and let his death not have been in vain. And hopefully the people who are out there will be listening and it will strike a chord with someone and they'll come forward and help in the murder investigation."

The rally followed the announcement that police have been given an extra five days to question a man arrested in connection with the murder.

The 33-year-old was detained in the Omagh area and two other men, aged 26 and 40, are also being questioned in connection with the killing.

Dissident republicans have also been blamed for recent bombings and attempted attacks in Newry, Lurgan and Antrim.

Constable Kerr's funeral witnessed unprecedented scenes - with police officers and members of the Gaelic Athletic Association uniting, as well as politicians from across all the main Northern Ireland parties in attendance.

(JG/BMcC)