Monday, January 11, 2010

Madison Group to Begin 11-Day “Fast for Justice” on Behalf of Guantánamo Detainees

Madison Group to Begin 11-Day “Fast for Justice”
on Behalf of Guantánamo Detainees
Candlelight Vigil and Capitol Procession Will Be Part of National Protest

To speak out against the continued imprisonment of detainees at the U.S. facilities in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, protestors in Madison, WI, will gather at 4 pm, January 11 at First United Methodist Church to participate in a candlelight vigil and procession around the Capitol.

The protestors, organized by Madison Pledge of Resistance, will join groups holding similar events around the country that day in response to a call to action by New York-based Witness Against Torture ( Witness Against Torture is organizing an 11-day fast in Washington, DC, with a nonviolent action of civil resistance planned for January 21.

January 11 will mark eight years of detention for the men in Guantanamo. On January 22, one year will have passed since President Obama signed an executive order mandating the close of the detention facility by January 22, 2010. The President has conceded that the deadline will not be met.

Regarding her own motivation to participate, Bonnie Block, a leader of Madison Pledge of Resistance, said:
I am participating in the Fast for Justice as a witness to, and a renewal of, my commitment to work for an end to all forms of torture. I do so because the Guantánamo prison has not closed and torture is being outsourced to other repressive governments. I do so because this nation continues its military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, is sending killing drones over Pakistan, and financing the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Gaza. I believe these policies are akin to torture because they too result in the destruction of human life. I think that is unconscionable and unacceptable so I feel compelled to protest.
While some members of the Madison group plan to fast for 11 days, participants are invited to join the candlelight procession and vigil whether or not they are able to fast ― or to fast at a level and for length of time that is comfortable for them. Organizers are also asking protestors to write letters to President Obama and their legislators calling on them to “shut down Guantanamo, try the men we have evidence against, and release those who should be released.”

Details of the planned Madison Fast for Justice events are as follows:
Monday, January 11, 4:00 p.m. - Gathering at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave., followed by a procession around the Capitol and candlelight vigil

Saturday, January 16, 4:00 p.m. - Protestors reconvene for fellowship and reflection at the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice office at 122 State St., Room 405

Friday, January 22 - Final gathering at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 322 East Washington for participants to break their fast together.