Several thousand protesters in the U. S. marched to the D. C. Capitol, demanding a limit to the government's surveillance programmes.

Some of the demonstrators held banners in support of Edward Snowden, the former contractor who revealed the extent of the National Security Agency's spying activities.

The march attracted protesters across the political spectrum.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) MICHAEL GREENE, ANTI-SURVEILLANCE PROTESTER, SAYING:

"I'm outraged like most people here at the mass surveillance that's going on and people just don't seem to be upset about it. It's blatantly unconstitutional."

The demonstration was organized by a coalition known as "Stop Watching Us", that consists of around 100 public advocacy groups and individuals urging Congress to reform the way the NSA gathers intelligence.

But despite these protests, the Obama administration says gathering online data secretly is crucial in protecting the U. S. and thwarting militant plots.

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