Twelve years after its opening and six years after President Obama vowed to close Guantanamo prison, protesters rallied outside the White House Saturday, demanding he keep his promise in the name of human rights.
WASHINGTON – Twelve years after its opening and six years after President Obama vowed to close Guantanamo prison, protesters rallied outside the White House Saturday, demanding he keep his promise in the name of human rights.
Seeing rain saturate rally-goers’ coats and drip off their umbrellas gave protester Brian McLachlin a reason to smile.
“We can’t be fair-weather protesters. This issue is too important,” he said.
More than 100 people affiliated with groups like Amnesty International, CODEPINK and the Blue Lantern Project are demanding the closure of Guantanamo prison.
Ellen Graves traveled from West Springfield, Mass., to take part in the protest.
“We are treating people badly, and that’s not how I would like the U.S. to be,” Graves said.
Nearby, more than a dozen men wearing orange jump suits and black bags over their heads to mimic the uniforms worn by Guantanamo prisoners. They held a long black cloth sign that read, “Close Guantanamo.”
Bernadette Baker, from Brooklyn, NY., was also in an orange jump suit, and wore the name of a Yemeni prisoner around her neck.
“You know, just seeing the names makes it more personal. For some, it’s still not going to be enough, but just a reminder and also a reminder for the activists just why we continue to struggle for them,” she said.
She is part of the Blue Lantern Project and as a nurse, Baker said, she has a problem with the reports of guards force feeding prisoners on hunger strikes.
“I thought it was basic knowledge that torture is not acceptable but apparently not. So here I am,” Baker said.
This group, a hodgepodge of human rights and civil liberties organizations, has rallied outside the White House for this cause the last seven years. Organizers say they don’t want to plan for next year, but fear they’ll have to.