Orange Friday Protest

Friday 11th January 2008 marked the 6th anniversary of the first war on terror detainees being transported to the illegal detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We commemorated that day with a demonstration outside the US Consulate in Edinburgh and were joining in a global day of action, with demonstrations taking place all around the globe. Also on that day, Amnesty International presented a petition to the US administration that was signed by over 1200 parliamentarians from around the world, all calling for the closure of the illegal detention centre.

Thanks to social networking on the Internet it was easy to spread the word and mobilise lots of people to come along to our protest. Luckily the weather turned out to be good as well and around 180 people from different walks of life and all ages showed up on Regent Terrace that day.

Around 130 people dressed up in orange boiler suits and formed lines in front of the US Consulate. From then on our “Guantanamo guards” were in charge, instructing the “detainees” when to stand to attention and when to kneel down in the infamous Guantanamo submission posture.

Other participants included MSPs from the SNP, Greens and Lib Dems, members of Edinburgh based choir Protest in Harmony, who sang songs of peace and freedom from around the world, and a “Guantanamo dog”. The dog, also dressed in orange and performed the submission post just like all the other “detainees”, became the star of the day with his picture appearing in The Times and The Herald.

Unfortunately, no one from the US Consulate could speak to us or give out a statement as we were told, “The Consulate is closed today” (it didn’t say that on their website…but never mind…). We managed to leave a letter with them though, demanding the immediate closure of Guantanamo, and if some of their employees peaked from behind the curtains, all they would have seen was orange.

Recently we received good news from Guantanamo when three British residents were released from the detention camp and returned home. However, the camp is still open and hundreds of men are still being held there, with no chance of getting a fair trial. Human rights violations resulting from the treatment of the prisoners are continuing, in the form of rendition, illegal detention and alleged torture. As much as I enjoyed the protest, I am hoping that I won’t have to organise a similar protest next year because I want to see this sign of injustice and abuse closed by then!!!

If you also want to see Guantanamo closed, then please take a couple of minutes to sign the pledge to ‘tear it down’ and ‘unsubscribe’ from the human rights abuses in the “war on terror”.

A BIG THANK YOU again to everyone who came along to our Orange Friday protest!

To see pictures from this fantastic event please click here.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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