The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matt Daloisio, 201-264-4424,
Tanya Theriault, 718-419-7619,

"Yes, We Can!" Close Guantanamo in 100 Days

Nine-day fast to close camp reaches 100, while 42 detainees hunger strike in Guantanamo


Witness Against Torture, a grassroots group
dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending torture, is heartened by
the announcement from unnamed members of Barack Obama's transition
team that the new President will sign an executive order to close
Guantanamo on January 21st, his first full day in office.

But members of the group, which marked the seventh anniversary of the
Guantanamo prison with a demonstration on Sunday, January 11th , are
alarmed that carrying out this order is likely to be a year-long
process, or longer. "Guantanamo must be closed not just on paper, but
in reality. And for the 250 men still there, it has already been seven
years too long," remarks Frida Berrigan, an organizer with Witness
Against Torture.

More than 100 people around the country have joined Witness Against
Torture in a Fast for Justice that began on January 11th and will end
the morning of President Barack Obama's inauguration.

The Fast for Justice has grown in response to recent comments from
Obama that a quick timeline for closing Guantanamo would be a
"challenge." At the same time, the Pentagon is reporting that 42 men
at Guantanamo are on a new hunger strike, with most subject to

"With our fast, we join our voices and our bodies with these men on
hunger strike in the sincere hope that President Obama fulfills his
promise and ends the injustice that is Guantanamo immediately,"
remarks Matthew Vogel, another organizer who is also fasting. Half of
the "Fasters for Justice" are in Washington, DC and will hold a vigil
and march starting from DuPont Circle Park and processing around the
city, from 11am-1pm each day through Tuesday, January 20. The rest of
the fasters are participating from around the country.

The fast will be broken in a sunrise ceremony on Inauguration Day in
McPherson Square, DC.

For details and updates, visit
Photos of the event:
Videos of the event:

For the first fifteen weeks of the new administration, Witness will
maintain a daily presence in Lafayette Park across the street from the
White House, attempting to keep the plight of the men in Guantanamo in
the forefront of both the President's and American Public's mind.

Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. For the first 100 days of the Obama administration, the group held a daily vigil at the White House, encouraging the new President to uphold his commitments to shut down Guantanamo.