The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Berrigan, 347-683-4928      
Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119

Eight Years After Guantanamo, Lawyers and Activists Demonstrate, Demand Real Change


Eight years ago next Monday, the Guantanamo prison opened for "war on terror"
detainees. On January 11, activists and Guantanamo lawyers will mark the
anniversary by demanding that President Obama make good on his pledge to close
the prison as first step towards restoring the rule of law. Further, the group
opposes any plan for holding prisoners without charge or trial in the U.S. and
denounces the White House's expansion of Bush-style detention in Afghanistan.

Schedule, Monday, January 11, 2010





Demonstration with street theater, signs, and speakers, announcement
of 12 day fast.

White House Plaza, between Lafayette Park and "picture postcard" zone


Begin prisoner procession, a silent walk of more than 40 jumpsuited


Press Briefing with the Center for Constitutional Rights

National Press Club, 529 14th Street

Murrow Room

Members of Witness
Against Torture
will rally in front of the White House at 11:45 a.m. to
protest the lack of progress toward justice for detainees since Obama took
office and demand from the administration true change. Speakers will announce a 12-Day Fast for
in Washington DC, ending on January 22-- the Obama administration's
self-declared, and now-voided, deadline for closing Guantanamo.

"As fear of
terrorism again grips the nation, we need to stand more firmly on the
principles of justice and the rule of law, and not go further down the
disastrous path of the last eight years," says Matt Daloisio of Witness
Against Torture
. "Obama promised to break with the Bush administration. But
in so many areas-- from the continued use of rendition, to the ongoing
detention of innocent men at Guantanamo, to the refusal to prosecute alleged
torturers-- he has sustained the policies of his predecessor and he is in the
process of expanding these policies at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan."

After the
demonstration, activists will stage a dramatic Guantanamo prisoner procession
to the National Press Club. There, they will join the Center for Constitutional
Rights for a press briefing featuring detainee lawyers and human rights
activists. The briefing,
led by CCR Executive Director Vince Warren, will include the reading of letters
from men released from Guantanamo and exonerated of wrong doing. The letters
directly appeal to President Obama and call for the prison's closure and
justice for all men held there

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.