LOCAL News :: Protest Activity
Activists Disrupt Supreme Court Demanding Trials for Guantanamo Detainees
82 people, including three Virginia activists, were arrested on Friday, Jan11th, protesting in and aroud the Supreme court. Over 300 people joined the 2nd annual protest that went from the national Mall to the Spreme Court in Washington, DC
Forty-five people, including John Downing of Northern Virginia, Nancy Gowen of Richmond and Bill Frankel-Streit of Louisa, were arrested Friday, January 11th for disrupting business as usual at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The protestors were part of a demonstration on behalf of prisoneers at Guantanamo Bay, some of whom have been incarcerated for 6 years without trial.
About 300 people joined organizers from Amnesty International and Witness Against Torture in this 2nd annual attempt to get the US legal system to recognize the rights of Guantanamo detainees.
In addtion to those arrested inside, 37 people were arrested outside on the Supreme Court stps, most dressed in orange jumpsuits and hoods.
The day began with a rally in the rain on the national Mall. Torture survivors and other speakers addressed the crowd, while 100 people donned othe orange jumpsuits and hoods similar to the outfits worn by detainees. At noon, the group processed two-by-two across the mall and up to the Supreme Court, the line of "detainees" stretching almost the length of the mall.
At the Supreme Court, protestors rallied again. Those in orange jumpsuits knelt in front of the steps, and a contingent of them climbed the steps and approached the front doors of the court. They knelt below the top set of stairs and were arrested.
Meanwhile, inside, protestors opened banners and began to read a statement. They were quickly pounced on by police, who roughly removed them from the building. Almost all those arrested were held over night for arraignment on Saturday. They gave the names of detainees instead of their own names. Many were in custody up to 30 hours before being released with a Feb. 12th status hearing for "unlawful free speech on Supreme Court grounds". Those arreested inside were also charged with "causing a harangue within the Supreme Court".
Many of those held did not receive water for over 10 hours, and then only after a lawyer on the outside convinced a judlge to order marshalls to provide water.
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