Photos and Report: Global Vigils for Guantánamo’s Closure on March 6 Demand Freedom for 16 Men Long Approved for Release


Photos from the coordinated global vigils for the closure of Guantánamo on March 6, 2024. Clockwise, from top L, Washington, D.C., London, San Francisco and New York City.

Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.


Campaigners outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2024. As Helen Schietinger of Witness Against Torture explained, “In the photo are Malachy Kilbride, Bob Cooke, Steve Lane, myself, Frank Panopoulos, and a friend.” As she also explained, “We’re not little leprechauns: the fence keeping us out is really that tall now!”
Campaigners with the UK Guantánamo Network in Parliament Square in London on March 6, 2024 (Photo: Andy Worthington).
Campaigners on the steps of the Public Library on Fifth Avenue in New York City on March 6, 2024. As Debra Sweet of the World Can’t Wait explained, “Amazingly, 14 people came out today in heavy rain.” (Photo: John Breitbart, Movement Sound Plus).

Campaigners with Amnesty International and the World Can’t Wait in San Francisco, with City Hall in the background, on March 6, 2024.
Campaigners in Cobleskill, NY (the Peacemakers of Schoharie County) on March 6, 2024.
Campaigners with Detroit Amnesty outside the Federal Building on Michigan Avenue in Detroit on March 6, 2024. Geraldine Grunow wrote, “From a windy, chilly day in Detroit — with several regulars unable to come because of illness and travel difficulties — an attempt at a cheerful selfie.”
Campaigners with Amnesty International in Minneapolis, on Handshake Bridge between the Sculpture Garden and Loring Bridge, on March 6, 2024. Aaron Tovo wrote, “The number of honks we got was encouraging and reminded me that there are still a lot of people out there who want to see Guantánamo shut down.”
Campaigners with Amnesty Events Copenhagen, holding the poster showing how long the 16 men approved for release have been held, as of March 6, 2024.
Campaigners in Brussels with the Comité Free.Assange.Belgium.

On Wednesday (March 6), campaigners in seven locations across the US, and in London, held the 14th successive coordinated monthly vigils for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, with campaigners in Brussels and Copenhagen undertaking vigils on the previous days.

I initiated the monthly vigils last February, following the example set in London, when campaigners (myself included) with the UK Guantánamo Network had begun holding monthly vigils outside Parliament in September 2022, and I feel very honored to have friends, colleagues and comrades in a global community who are prepared to make a stand for Guantánamo, even though our numbers are small, and we are faced with almost complete indifference from politicians, from the media, and from most of our fellow citizens.

To many people, I suspect, the efforts of our small global community may seem pointless. Why protest, they might say, when no one seems to notice, when it seems to make no difference? To those people, however, I would say that they misunderstand the struggle against injustice, which is fundamentally continuous, that they fail to comprehend that our gestures are against an injustice that tears at the heart of what the United States likes to believe about itself, and that they also fail to understand that our efforts carry meaning to those who have suffered the injustices of Guantánamo, and, we hope, will be mentioned to those still held by their lawyers, to let them know that they haven’t been forgotten.

Our vigils this month were spearheaded by activists in Washington, D.C., including members of the campaigning group Witness Against Torture, who, as shown above, gathered at the White House “to remind the President, in case he hadn’t noticed, that his ‘Special Representative for Guantánamo’ has failed to address the plight of the 16 men who have been cleared for release for way too long,” in the words of Helen Schietinger, one of the vigil’s organizers.

Campaigners also gathered in London, in New York (despite heavy rain), in San Francisco, in Cobleskill, NY, in Minneapolis and Detroit, and on the previous days, as noted above, in Brussels and Copenhagen, as shown in the photos above and below. In Los Angeles, Jon Krampner held a solo vigil at the Downtown Los Angeles Federal Building, where, as he said, “No one interacted with me, so I am unable to send you a photo,” although his persistence is much appreciated. Missing from the photos is the bright sunlight of Mexico City, where campaigners had to delay their vigil until next week, although I’ll be adding their photos in due course.

A particular focus of the vigils, as Helen noted, is the plight to the 16 men still held at Guantánamo who have long been approved for release. I’ve been promoting their situation since the monthly vigils began, via a “Free the Guantánamo 16” poster showing the 16 men, and a second poster, updated every month, showing how long they have been held since the US authorities first decided that no longer wanted to hold them. On March 6, shockingly, these men had been held for between 530 and 1,224 days since those decisions were first taken, and in three outlying cases for 5,157 days, as the photo below shows.

Paul, at the London vigil, with the poster showing how long the 16 men approved for release have been held since those decisions were taken.

I’ve currently profiling these men in a series of ten articles, published alternately here and on the Close Guantánamo website, and you can find the first five articles here, here, here, here and here, with the rest to follow throughout the rest of March.

Please also note that next Thursday, March 15, marks 8,100 days of Guantánamo’s existence, and I’d like to ask you to take part in our ongoing photo campaign, taking a photo with the Close Guantánamo campaign’s 8,100 days poster, urging President Biden to close the prison, which can be found here, on the campaign’s Gitmo Clock website, which counts in real time how long Guantánamo has been open.

We mark every 100 days of Guantánamo’s existence via photos with these posters (as well as the anniversaries of the prison’s opening), and have now been running the photo campaign for over six years, with particularly enthusiastic responses for our posters marking 8,000 days of the prison’s existence in December (see here and here), and marking 8,036 days on the 22nd anniversary of its opening, on January 11.

Please do get involved if you can by taking a photo with the poster and sending it to the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you want to be involved with the vigils, they take place on the first Wednesday of every month, and further details can be found here. You’re also most welcome to set up your own vigil, if there isn’t one near you, but please let me know if you do, and take a photo if you can.

At the London vigil, Sara Birch of the UK Guantánamo Network stands with a placard highlighting the plight of former prisoner Ravil Mingazov, who was sent to the United Arab Emirates for resettlement in January 2017, but who was imprisoned instead. Campaigners in the UK are working to try and get him resettled in the UK, where his family members, including his son, were granted asylum.
Campaigners in New York City (Photo: Felton Davis).
Campaigners in New York City (Photo: John Breitbart, Movement Sound Plus).
A striking photo of campaigners in San Francisco on March 6, 2014.
Hazar and Gavrilah in San Francisco.
Alan in San Francisco.
Nancy in San Francisco.
Another photo of the vigil in Minneapolis.

POSTSCRIPT March 13: Below are photos from the vigil in Mexico City, which was delayed by a week, and which took place at what Natalia Rivera Scott described as “a very special place in the city, the Arab kiosk in a neighborhood called Santa María la Ribera.” With Nat in the photos (taken by Alli McCracken) were Mary and Nacho, and in the second photo Nat is holding the Spanish version of the poster marking 8,100 days of Guantánamo’s existence on March 15. Please feel free to join us!

The vigil in Mexico City on March 12, 2024.
Another photo of the vigil in Mexico City on March 12, 2024.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

8 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, featuring photos from, and my report about the eight vigils for the closure of Guantanamo that took place across the US and around the world on March 6, 2024.

    The vigils were the latest in an ongoing series of monthly coordinated global vigils that began last year, and a particular focus of our campaigning is to highlight the plight of the 16 men (out of 30 in total), who are still held, despite having been approved for release for many years.

    If you’d like to join us, the vigils take place on the first Wednesday of every month, and the next date is April 3.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Amazing photos, little family of great humans 🧡
    We’ve been doing the monthly vigils for a year, Andy?

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    We started last February, Natalia, with London and Washington, D.C., then New York City and Mexico City joined in March, and it carried on growing from there!

    All the photos and reports are here:
    and here:

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Geraldine Grunow wrote:

    A wonderfully inspiring collection of photos. Thank you. We’re honored to be in such good company!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks so much for the supportive words, Geraldine, and for your participation in the vigils. It’s very much appreciated!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Lizzy Arizona wrote:

    Thank you for keeping these men on top of your Pen, Andy!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Always, Lizzy. A monstrous crime like Guantanamo isn’t diminished when politicians and the mainstream media largely choose to ignore it.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    For a Spanish translation, on the World Can’t Wait’s Spanish website, see ‘Fotos y reportaje: Las vigilias mundiales del 6 de marzo por el cierre de Guantánamo exigen la libertad de 16 hombres cuya excarcelación fue aprobada hace tiempo’:

Leave a Reply

Back to the top

Back to home page

Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium



Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:


In Touch

Follow me on Facebook

Become a fan on Facebook

Subscribe to me on YouTubeSubscribe to me on YouTube

The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos



Tag Cloud

Abu Zubaydah Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo