On January 11, 2002, the unlawful prison at Guantanimo Bay opened for business. On January 11, 2015 it was still in business even though President Obama vowed six years ago to close it. As on every January 11th back to 2007, a long line of protesters in orange jumpsuits and black hoods marched to demand the closure of Gitmo.
About half the detainees at Gitmo have been cleared for release, with investigators finding no connection to terrorism. Still, the US government refuses to release them, all but two being from Yemen and the US government apparently not trusting Yemen to keep people who have committed no crime at all from “re-offending.” One is from Britain yet the US refuses to release him and the British government has made no move to defend their own citizen. The other half of the Gitmo population is detainees the US military deems “too dangerous” to release, yet the US refuses to put them on trial on the grounds of either having no evidence or having no evidence that would not be inadmissable in court due to being obtained by torture.
This year’s march of protesters in orange jumpsuits and black hoods began at the White House and proceeded to the Department of Justice, where police closed off the entrance and protesters threw 127 orange carnations, one for each detainee in Guantanimo Bay, over the barrier. Marchers had a single and simple demand: either try or release every single detainee at Guantanimo Bay and close the gates of Hell there forever!
This year one thing was different. For every detainee in the hell of Guantanimo Bay, there are literally 20,000 more buried in the rest of America’s prisons, about two million prisoners in all. This is not new, but Ferguson has created new public outrage about the wholesale mass incarceration of people on this continent that has mushroomed since the Reagan years. Therefore, this time around, the march finished at DC Central Cellblock, the holding facility for those arrested legally or otherwise by police right here in DC. There was an effort to be loud at Central Cell Block in hopes that those detained inside could hear the protesters seeking their release.
“Detainees” lining up at the White House for America’s march of shame
History can answer that one…
“Detainees” at Central Cellblock.