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Dozens demand justice for Rehtaeh Parsons at rally outside Halifax RCMP building

Leah Parsons, left, mother of Rehtaeh Parsons, and her partner Jason Barnes, attend a rally near the Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Sunday, April 14, 2013.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The mother of Rehtaeh Parsons dabbed her eyes with a tissue as dozens of people chanted in front of the Halifax district RCMP office on Sunday to demand justice for the young woman who took her own life after months of bullying.

People held signs and wrote messages on a banner for the 17-year-old, who hanged herself and was taken off life-support about a week ago.

Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh's mother, attended the rally and could be seen crying and hugging people in the crowd as various speakers took to a microphone to voice their concerns.

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Rehtaeh Parsons has gained widespread international attention since her family blamed her death on bullying that was linked to an alleged sexual assault by four boys at a house party in 2011.

The peaceful protest was organized by the online hacker group Anonymous, which claims it knows the identities of the boys accused of being involved in the sexual assault.

Dave Rossetti, an event organizer, told the crowd that the group is demanding the RCMP continue the investigation and that the province's Justice Department open an investigation into how the Mounties have handled the case.

"We're a group of concerned citizens who have recognized an injustice in the system," said Rossetti, prompting a fury of cheers and applause from the crowd. "Protect the innocent. We want justice, and that is your job."

RCMP announced on Friday that it would reopen its investigation into an alleged sexual assault of Parsons in 2011.

Last Monday, her family went public with her suicide, which they said stemmed from months of bullying that was the result of the alleged assault by four boys when she was 15 years old.

At the time, the RCMP and Nova Scotia's Public Prosecution Service said there were insufficient grounds to lay charges.

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The family contends it took 10 months for investigators to interview the boys, but the RCMP have said they can't confirm or deny that.

The rally comes a day after an emotional funeral service for Parsons at a church in Halifax, where an mix of people – from teenagers to politicians – came to say goodbye.

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