On June 26, 2013, hundreds of protesters gathered at the White House to demand that President Obama keep his campaign promise and close Guantanamo Prison immediately. As a last resort effort, over a hundred prisoners are on hunger strike, some for as long as 147 days. Currently, 40 of the hunger strikers are being force-fed daily. This violates their human right to autonomy. And over the past weekend, it was reported that the prison staff have increased their abusive treatment of the prisoners in order to get them to break their fast. This includes placing them in freezing cold rooms and using metal-tipped feeding tubes.
Eighty six of the prisoners have been cleared of charges, some for as long as three years. They still have not been released. Attorney Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights states that President Obama has the authority to issue waivers to release individual prisoners. Yet, he has failed to take action.
In front of the White House, dozens of protesters wore orange jumpsuits and some wore hoods in the 90 degree heat and full sun. Five of the protesters were on a solidarity hunger strike: Diane Wilson, 57 days, Elliott Adams, 35 days, Tarak Kauff, 19 days and Joan Stallard and Cynthia Papermaster, both 12 days.
The photos below, taken by photojournalist Ellen Davidson, capture the powerful and moving protest. If you are moved to do so, please call the White House at 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 and tell President Obama to release the prisoners and close Guantanamo Bay prison immediately.