"Make Guantanamo History" Rally & Protest - Jan 11, 2014
Over 200 people gathered in pouring rain at the White House on the beginning of the 13th year of operation of the Guantanamo prison to demand Close Guantanamo Now. A contingent of people in orange jumpsuits and black hoods lined up in front of the White House with placards that read “Close Guantanamo.” Speakers from many groups briefly spoke of the horrors of the prison, stories of the prisoners and their families.
Bringing the protest to "make Guantanamo history" to the National Museum of American History
Photo: Witness Against Against Torture
Andy Worthington spoke, as he had at two events in NYC and DC, of the importance of the hunger strikes by the prisoners in pushing the entire issue onto the world stage and forcing some concessions from the US ruling class. The Center for Constitutional Rights linked the struggle of the Guantanamo prisoners to Muslims being tortured and imprisoned in the US, with the example of Fahad Hashmi. The speaker from Witness Against Torture, told of the importance of making clear solitary confinement is torture and it is also going on in US prisons on a mass scale. World Can’t Wait emphasized the hunger strikers’ bravery, that the hunger strike has reignited worldwide support, and the importance of continuing to reach out broadly in schools and communities to spread opposition to Guantanamo and indefinite detention. Code Pink condemned the torture and brought to speak an US Air Force drone pilot who exposed the targeted killings. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the organization of families of 9-11, and others also spoke.
Led by the contingent of orange-jumpsuited people, marchers proceeded to the National Museum of American History. The orange jumpsuits lined the top row of steps with banners of several groups (including World Can’t Wait’s which said “Close Guantanamo Now. Indefinite Detention is Unjust. War Crimes are Crimes No Matter Who Does Them” with photos of Bush and Obama) and over 200 marchers occupying almost all the rest of the entrance steps. Then a majority of attendees entered the museum.
Witness Against Torture’s website describes the dynamic scene inside:
“Vowing to ‘Make Guantanamo History,’... 150 activists occupied the atrium of the crowded museum for more than two hours, speaking out against torture and calling for Guantanamo to close.
“The activists hung banners, stood in stress positions in hoods and jumpsuits, spoke to the tourists, and with their bodies and voices revised the museum’s ‘Price of Freedom’ exhibit to include twelve years of torture and indefinite detention….”
The day’s activities reached thousands, from the streets of DC to readers of websites and blogs, in a powerful way with the demand “Close Guantanamo Now” and a determination to spread this demand among thousands more around the country and world as people continued to take inspiration from the bravery of the Guantanamo prisoners.
Must-watch video from Saturday in DC: Making Guantánamo History