Activists protest against Guantanamo Bay

Living in Peru
Jobana Soto

Dressed in orange suits and white masks, protesters from Amnistía Internacional (AI) denounced the shameful human rights abuses of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, where in recent years, many are being detained due to the war on terrorism under United States President George W. Bush.

Activists demanded that President-elect Barack Obama keep his promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay when he takes office in January. “The horror of Guantanamo can never be forgotten!” shouted one protester while 30 others kneeled to the floor with their hands behind their backs.

Jorge Trefogli, director of AI in Peru, said Wednesday’s demonstration was to remind people of the illegal human rights abuses going on in Guantanamo Bay, where inmates are denied basic judicial rights, and of Obama’s promise to shut the prison down in his first 100 days as president starting January 20, when he is officially sworn in to office.

Trefogli told reporters Obama should form a commission investigating the illegal actions in Guantanamo Bay carried out by the Bush administration in the last eight years.

AI planed the Guantanamo Bay protest during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit not only because of President Bush’s attendance, but to remind other economically developing countries who are visiting Lima for the summit to respect human rights.

When asked by reporters why AI are not protesting against China for their accusations of violating basic human rights like freedom of speech, Trefogli explained that the group already made a campaign spotlighting China’s abusive power during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.