World marks sixth anniversary of Guantánamo Bay

Amnesty International is leading worldwide events, rallies and meetings to mark the sixth anniversary of the first transfers of detainees to Guantánamo Bay. People around the world will be taking action to seek the immediate closure of the detention centre and an end to all illegal detentions.

Amnesty International events for the anniversary will showcase the recently declassified “Poems from Guantánamo” in countries including Bahrain, Luxembourg, Denmark and Spain. An Amnesty International activist in Bahrain described the poetry reading as “another step forward in our struggle to let the voices of the detainees reach the world… We hope that this anniversary is the last one and that Guantánamo Bay is closed forever.”

Over 1,200 parliamentary representatives from many countries around the world have signed a declaration calling to end illegal detention by the US government carried out in the name of counter-terrorism. Hundreds signed from parliaments across continental Europe, the UK, and Israel – countries that are the staunchest US allies in the “war on terror”.

Other key events include:

In London, there will be an all-night vigil around a replica
Guantánamo cage, filled every hour with a new ‘captive’. The morning
after will see a mass demonstration in front of the US embassy in
London. Hundreds of protestors in orange jumpsuits will sit in stress
positions under the eyes of faux US guards. Rallies will also be held
at the US Consulate in Edinburgh and through the streets of Belfast.

10-11 January 2008
Time: Vigil begins 5.30pm local time, 10 January. Demo begins 10.30am local time, 11 January
Where: US embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE

USA: In Washington DC, Amnesty International members and other activists will gather on the National Mall dressed in orange jumpsuits to urge Congress and the Bush administration to shut down Guantánamo. Approximately 100,000 signatures from US citizens and the declaration signed by over 1,200 parliamentarians will be sent to the Bush administration and Presidential candidates.

11 January 2008
Time: 11.00am – 12:30pm local time
Where: National Mall, Washington DC

Sweden: Central Stockholm will host the ‘Guantánamo Bay Luxury Resort’, with activists in jumpsuits leaning back in deckchairs among palm trees, sun and cocktails. In conjunction with the stunt, three Swedish parliamentarians and Director of AI Sweden will give speeches to stress the continuing plight of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

When: 11 January 2008
Time: 4pm local time
Where: Norrmalmstorg, square in Central Stockholm

Ireland: Towns across the country will find lone participants dressed in orange jumpsuits, white facemasks and placards. Each “statue” will aim to highlight the issue of solitary confinement, while identifying a specific individual in Guantánamo. Other AI members will collect signatures on a petition to be delivered to the US Ambassador. There will also be a poetry competition launched for secondary school students, asked to create poems using only the materials available to prisoners in Guantánamo: white sheets, toilet rolls, plastic cups, etc.

5-11 January 2008
Where: Towns across Ireland

Bahrain: A poetry reading night will feature former detainees Abdulla Al-Noaimi, released from Guantánamo in 2005 and key contributor to the book “Poems from Guantánamo”. Poems by Jumah al-Dossari will also be read.

Sat 12 January 2008

7.30pm local time
Where: Bahrain Human Rights Society

Paraguay: Amnesty International activists will gather at a square in central Asunción and stage a street theatre re-enactment of Guantánamo, as well as collecting more signatures for petitions to close the detention centre and to stop torture and rendition worldwide.

The Philippines:
Amnesty International will host a motorcade and street drama demonstration near the US embassy in Manila, also aiming to mobilize supporters from the AI Philippines membership and the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC).

More events are planned in many other countries.