Washington - Some 200 protesters gathered Tuesday outside the Nigerian embassy in Washington to demand the country take robust action to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by militants.
Chanting "bring back our girls" and "no more abuse," they called upon Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to show what one speaker called the "testicular fortitude" to resolve the crisis.
The late-morning protest coincided with news from the State Department that the United States has offered to send a team of experts to Nigeria to help locate the young captives.
"We need action. We need boots on the ground," said Nigerian-American finance student Temi Wellington, 25, one of many to take a turn at the microphone at the embassy's black iron gate.
"Nigeria is the biggest black nation in the world. We cannot bow to terrorism... The Nigerian government must rise to the challenge."
Many in the multiracial crowd waved placards and wore bright red T-shirts emblazoned with the "#bringbackourgirls" hashtag that has made the kidnapping a trending topic on social media.
In a video message obtained Monday by AFP, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the mass abduction on April 14 in the Chibok area of northeastern Nigeria's Borno state.
He also asserted that his group was holding the girls as "slaves" and intended to sell them.
More than three weeks on, the kidnapping has only just started to register with mainstream news media in the United States, where a bipartisan resolution condemning Boko Haram is before the Senate.