International Day of Action

US Consulate, Edinburgh

US Consulate, Edinburgh, 11 Jan 2007

Protestors outside the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament, 11 Jan 2007

 

Grosvenor Square, London

Grosvenor Square, London

Grosvenor Square, London

Grosvenor Square, London

Washington DC

Birmingham

Washington DC

Birmingham

Washington DC

In front of US Federal District Court, Washington DC

Washington DC

Outside Supreme Court, Washington DC

Washington DC

At Guantanamo Bay

Washington DC

At Guantanamo Bay

Washington DC

Melbourne

Washington DC

Budapest

Washington DC

Athens, in front of the Greek Parliament

Washington DC

Paris, Sat 6 Jan

Washington DC>

Paris, Sat 6 Jan

Just a few highlights from the International Day of Action.

Glasgow (UK), 10 January

Victoria Brittain, co-author with Moazzam Begg of the book Enemy Combatant, spoke at a public meeting in Pollockshieds Primary School in Glasgow's Southside. Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan MSP, lawyer Aamer Anwar and Muslin community leader Dr Akhtar Bhutta also spoke at the meeting.

Victoria Brittain brought to the meeting a message from Sabah El-Banna, the wife of Jamil El-Banna, a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay. Mrs El-Banna said that meetings like this gave her hope. But she also reminded us that Jamil has not yet come home. She asked that we try to make sure that, this time, concrete steps are taken that will bring justice to the detainees. And she asked us to try, when we went to the Scottish Parliament, to make sure that those who have a little power would use it on behalf of the detainees, who have none.

The meeting was supported by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities and the Muslim Association of Britain.

Edinburgh (UK) 11 January

Around 40 people dressed in orange boilersuits gathered outside the US Consulate in Edinburgh to protest against the Guantanamo prison camp. The protest was supported by Amnesty International, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities and Edinburgh Stop The War Coalition. Afterwards the demonstrators, still wearing the orange boilersuits, braved wind and rain to walk through the city centre to participate in a lunchtime meeting in the Scottish Parliament attended by MSPs from Solidarity, the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Socialist Party. MSPs and others pledged at the meeting to renew the struggle to close Guantanamo. Their pledge was published on the letters page of the Herald newspaper on 12 January. It was endorsed by Amnesty International, SACC and Edinburgh Stop The War Coalition. A resolution calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament.
SACC Press Release
Resolution tabled in the Scottish parliament.

London (UK) 11 January

More than 300 protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, central London to mark the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The protest was organised by Amnesty International.
Report in the Guardian

Birmingham (UK), 11 January

campaigners from the city and surrounding areas came together to protest outside Hiatts that supplies chains used at Guantanamo. Hiatts were suppliers of chains and collars to the Slave trade. Seize the day led the protesters in singing Shackle-Shuffle. They ended singing " Happy Birthday " expressing the hope that Guantanamo does not make the sixth birthday.

Abubaker Deghayes spoke about the plight of his brother still held at Guantanamo. Abubaker asked the British administration to do everything possible to bring Omar, his brother, back home to England. Raghib Ahsan, a Respect candidate for the Birmingham Council spoke on behalf of the local residents calling for the closure of Guantanamo and an end to trade in instruments of torture including the chains used at Guantanamo. Sandy Mitchell spoke about his experience in the Saudi prison where he was shackled using the shackles manufactured at Hiatts. He also said how he felt betrayed by his own government that failed to back him when he sued the Saudi regime for illegal imprisonment and torture.Protesters tried to deliver a birthday cake to the factory but the management refused to open the office doors. In the end Sandy Mitchell returned his shackles through the letter box

The protest was organised by Britain's National Guantanamo Coalition. SACC is a member of the Coalition.

Washington DC, 11 January

Hundreds marched through the streets of D.C. today, winding a path from the Capitol to the Supreme Court and ending at the U.S. Federal District Court House. At the courthouse, protestors demanded entrance, saying "Guantanimo Detainees after five years of detention... we're here to deliver them to Federal court!"While police and security scrambled to keep out the huge press of orange jumpsuited protestors, others who had removed their jumpsuits and disappeared redeployed inside the courthouse and staged their civil disobediance inside the Federal courthouse. 80-100 are reported to have been arrested. Many carried the name of a Guantanimo detainee, with the intention of taking that name all the way to the courts when their own cases are heard.

The protest was organized by Witness Against Torture, a group of Christians that marched to Guantanamo and held a vigil in December 2005.

Report from the Washington Post

Guantanamo Bay, 11 January

The international delegation to the Cuban side of Guantanamo Bay included Asif Iqbal (one of the "Tipton Three"), a Briton who was held at Guantanamo for two years. During his two years at Guantanamo he claims he was abused by US interrogators and forced to make false confessions. He was released in March 2004.

The delegation also included Taher Deghayes, and Zohra Zewawi, the brother and mother of British resident Omar Deghayes, who is still held at Guantanamo Bay. Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, was also with the delegation.

Detainee's mother in tears after long trek to Guantanamo gates

from a report By Patrick Moser - GUANTANAMO, Cuba
Source: Middle East Online

Zohra Zewawi couldn't see the US prison itself, or much more than shrub, fences and Cuban soldiers, but she plunged into tears at the gates of the Guantanamo Bay base where her son is held without charges.

Being here made her heart beat faster, she said, after traveling from Dubai to Cuba five years after the first "war-on-terror" prisoners arrived at the US enclave's navy-run prison in southeastern Cuba.

"I am so glad to be close to my son," said Zewawi, clad in a long black dress and gray headscarf, and sporting a pin with her son's inmate number -- 727.

She smiled and broke down in tears at the thought her son Omar was so close, yet unreachable.

Another of her sons, Taher Deghayes, held up a photo of his brother and a sign calling for his release, as 19 protestors marched and posted banners demanding the closure of the controversial base, sometimes referred to as Gitmo, where the US government holds nearly 400 prisoners.

The protestors also included former Guantanamo inmate Asif Iqbal and US peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son, a US soldier, was killed and Iraq.

They bowed their heads as a pastor prayed for peace and justice, and laid wreaths on the fence.

"We'll walk miles for fair trials" and "Gitmo is a place of shame," they chanted during the symbolic march on the Cuban side of the fence, several kilometers (miles) away from the base.

One protester wore an orange suit, his head covered by a black hood, with blacked-out goggles over his eyes -- the outfit detainees wore when they arrived at the maximum security prison set deep inside the 118-square-kilometer (29,160 acre) naval base, away from prying eyes and the protections of the US justice system.

"When I read and see what happens in this prison, it makes me sick to my stomach," said Sheehan, who gained notoriety for taking her campaign against the Iraq war to the gates of US President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.

"If dogs were treated like this in the United States, there'd be a riot," she said.

Iqbal, 25, stared beyond the fence, but said he felt far removed from the prison where he was held for three years before his release two years ago.

"I feel I am so far from being shackled, I feel I am so far from being tortured, from being held illegally," said Iqbal, a Pakistan-born Briton who featured in the "Road to Guantanamo" dramatized documentary film.

Adele Welty, the mother of a fireman killed in the September 11 attacks in the United States, urged Americans to write their senators and call the White House to "demand an end to the unjust incarceration of your fellow human beings."

Outside the US enclave, Zewawi said she was grateful for the international outcry. "To everyone in the world, we say 'don't give up'," she said.

Deghayes pointed out the protesters did not seek to argue the prisoners' innocence or guilt, but demanded they be charged in a court of law or released, that they not be tortured, and that the prison be shut down.

"This is what we expect from a civilized democracy," he told journalists, standing by a sign that warned in Spanish and English: "Keep out, military zone."

The restricted zone meant the protesters' only audience consisted of journalists, officials and a few soldiers.

Also see

Reuters report on the protest in Cuba by Esteban Israel.

Athens and Thesaloniki, 11 January

Amnesty International organised protests in Athens and Thesaloniki.

Istanbul and Ankara, 11 January

Amnesty International organised protests in Istanbul and Ankara.

Paris, 6 January

The protests opened in Paris with a demo organised by Amnesty International on Saturday 6 January. People dressed in orange boliersuits and white masks protest gathered in front of a replica of the Statue of Liberty,and laterformed the number "420" - an estimate of the number of detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay.