Protesters mark Guantanamo prison's 10th anniversary

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:44pm EST

1 of 6. Members of the group 'Witness Against Torture' dressed in orange prison jump suits protest against the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. January 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

Related Video

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Human rights protesters dressed in orange prison-style jumpsuits and covering their heads with black bags marched past the White House on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ignoring a steady rain, scores of protesters decried the prison as a disgrace to American values while carrying pictures of inmates and signs that said: "Close Gitmo" and "Investigate and prosecute U.S. torture."

The United States set up the prison at its Cuban base after U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The first 20 prisoners arrived on January 11, 2002.

"This is a day of great shame -- 10 years of indefinite detention, 10 years of torture, 10 years of the violation of the rule of law," protest organizer Frida Berrigan of the Witness Against Torture rights group told several hundred demonstrators in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House.

Ramzi Kassem, a City University of New York law professor who represents Guantanamo inmates, said prisoners were marking the anniversary with a three-day hunger strike and by refusing to return to their cells.

The marchers, chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Guantanamo has got to go," continued on to rally outside the Supreme Court, then dispersed.

The Cuban camp has held 779 foreign captives, and 171 remain. The prison was set up to hold and interrogate detainees suspected of links to al Qaeda, the Taliban and other groups classified by the United States as terrorist organizations.

No detainee has been released in a year. After his 2008 election, President Barack Obama ordered the camp closed by January 2010 but missed the deadline.

President George W. Bush authorized military courts to try captives on war crimes charges. Obama criticized the tribunals but has continued them under revised rules.

A spokeswoman for Amnesty International said protests by human rights groups were planned for Miami, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.

Events also have been scheduled for Paris, Toronto, Madrid, Berlin, London, Brussels and other cities, she said.

(Reporting By Ian Simpson; editing by Paul Thomasch)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (7)
911014ever wrote:
i hope these people don’t really think playing dress-up is going to make a difference. the intel coming out of the camp far outweighs them anyday!!!!!!!!

Jan 11, 2012 2:48pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Unchained wrote:
Obama was elected because he lied to the American people and said he would close Gitmo.
Americans want Gitmo closed because we are the good guys, remember?
The Catholics tortured people 500 years ago during the Crusades.
Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Cheney, and other homicidal sociopath dictators tortured people.
The USA does not belong in that group.

Jan 11, 2012 3:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:
Although it probably was not their intention, I did get a genuinely good laugh out of this article and picture.

“10 years of indefinite detention, 10 years of torture, 10 years of the violation of the rule of law”…they forgot the most important…10 years of relative peace and security in America, free from terrorist attacks. Lost on them is the reasoning why these individuals are being detained – it’s probably safe to say none of their family fell victim to 9/11 attacks.

Do these “human rights activists” not having anything more productive to address?

The world has a lot of problems, countless amounts of human rights atrocities are committed each day. There are about 47 (from my udnerstanding) detainees that will not stand trial or be let go from Gitmo at this point. I’d hope they have more valiant efforts to pursue than impersonating a detained terrorist.

…I’d venture to guess that they put their costumes away, they proceeded to the Keystone XL protest.

Jan 11, 2012 3:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.