International Day of Action to Close Guantanamo - Warsaw
Polish citizens queuing at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw encountered a surprise this morning when 2 people dressed in orange coveralls and sensory deprivation goggles and ear muffs stood in line awaiting their turn to be processed by embassy staff. Allegedly they had heard that this was a sure way to gain entrance to the United States, whose government continue to detain and torture almost 300 prisoners at the notorious gulag in Guantanamo, Cuba.
The street theatre action was carried out by local anarchists from FA Praga and human rights activists from the Polish Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo on the 6th anniversary of the infamous prison's gates first opening. 800 prisoners have been detained there since January 2002 and so far almost 500 have been released without charge but not without physical and emotional scars.
Polish police protecting the embassy prevented the 'prisoners' from requesting visas, so a 'Secret Service' agent instructed the 'terrorism suspects' to get into stress positions, e.g. "Get on your knees," and "Stand on one leg," as others handed out leaflets informing passers by about the International Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and other U.S. military brigs worldwide.The fact that even former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and current Secretary of Defence Robert Gates claim it should be closed is testimony to how it has brutally tarnished their government in the eyes of the world.
Staff from the embassy were very upset to see us highlighting the United States abysmal human rights record and claimed we were interfering with the queue, blocking the path and causing them trouble. Activists requested they respond to the core issues and stop whining but they followed their usual 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' policy with "Please contact our press office."
We also spoke by loudhailer to the embassy staff inside (some of whom listened from the balcony), reminding them they had huge responsibilities to resist their goverment's pro-torture and pro-war policies and that we looked forward to joining them outside the embassy next January to celebrate the closure of the detention camps at Gitmo. U.S. Security staff took pictures of the action participants and were so threatened by our presence that 2 police riot vans with reinforcements were called to secure the area.
In hope we recalled that last year we had held pictures of Australian David Hicks from Australia, Bisher al-Rawi from Iraq, Juma al Dowsari from Bahrain, Murat Kurnaz from Turkey and Jamil al Banna from Jordan calling on their immediate release or swift access to a fair trial. Today, we celebrated the fact that they have since been released and are reunited with their families.
Citizens in 40 cities around the world are today united with one voice in calling for an end to this terrible travesty of justice at Guantanamo and for the restoration and implementation of basic human rights values.
More info. and Polish translation soon on www.cia.bzzz.net