By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 200 Nigerian school girls have been missing for more than three weeks. Many around the world are frustrated with the Nigerian government’s response.

Mike Hellgren reports on a large downtown rally to support the girls.

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The hundreds who showed up at Baltimore City Hall hope their voices are heard around the world.

“I have a young daughter close in age to many of you and certainly close in age to those girls and I cannot imagine what the girls are going through at this very moment,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

“It’s very important for me to come out here today because these are our girls too,” one girl said.

“I just want our girls to come back safely. They didn’t deserve to get taken away from their home just because they want to get an education and a better life. That just doesn’t make any sense to me,” said another.

Like many others across the country, they’re pushing for the freedom of almost 300 girls kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. A violent Islamic terror group named Boko Haram has taken responsibility.

“This is outrageous, and we have to put sanctions on that country until those girls are returned safely,” one woman said.

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This is the second major rally in Baltimore this week. It comes amid growing pressure on Nigerian officials to stop Boko Haram and pressure on the U.S. government, which is sending a limited number of strategic personnel, but no troops.

“I think we all have an obligation to do what we can to bring stuff like this to the attention of everybody,” one man said.

“I think the United States should be very embarrassed that they’re so late going over,” a woman said.

Maryland has one of the largest Nigerian populations in the United States. Those here want to show solidarity and hope their words can make a difference.

“We call on the Nigerian government and the international community to take immediate action to help these young girls,” the mayor said.

“I cried when I first heard it. I can’t imagine how terrified those girls are. As a mother, I feel for the mothers and the families,” one woman said.

Fourteen different groups, including several schools, participated in the rally.

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