April 30, 2009

61 arrested today protesting Guantanamo

Witness Against Torture concluded its 100-day campaign with nonviolent civil disobedience at the White House today at noon.  In previous actions on behalf of the detainees, people have voluntarily withheld all identification and given the police the names of those still held at Guantánamo. This could result in a long weekend of solidarity inside the DC cellblocks!

61 Americans, dressed in the orange jumpsuits and black hoods that have become the symbol of Guantanamo detainees, were arrested in front of the White House in a nonviolent demonstration this afternoon.

The demonstrators each had the name of a detainee stenciled on the back of the jumpsuit. 55 of the detainees represented were cleared for release by the Bush administration but not released; an additional 5 died at the prison.

This event capped the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture, which pressured President Obama to close the prison and end America's policies of torture and indefinite detention within his first 100 days in office.

The day began with a march from the Capitol to the White House, organized by Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, TASSC, the ACLU, and other groups.

Protesters against torture are arrested by U.S. Park Police officers after moving their rally from Lafayette Park to the sidewalk in front of the White House. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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