Photos and Report: The Ten Coordinated Global Vigils for the Closure of Guantánamo on July 3, 2024

7.7.24

Photos from the ten coordinated monthly global vigils for the closure of Guantánamo on July 3, 2024. Clockwise, from top L: Washington, D.C., London, New York City and Mexico 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.





 

My thanks, as always, to the campaigners in ten different locations across the US and around the world who came together on Wednesday (July 3), to call for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay — in Washington, D.C., London, New York City, Mexico City, Brussels, San Francisco, Detroit, Cobleskill, NY, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, from organizations including Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, the World Can’t Wait and the UK Guantánamo Network, and with supporting organizations including the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Campaigners with Witness Against Torture outside the White House on July 3, 2024. Responding to a question about the recent Supreme Court decision — that any “official acts” a president takes, even beyond the office’s “core constitutional functions”, enjoy “presumptive immunity” from prosecution — Helen Schietinger wrote, “Well, they still let us stand here: so far, so good, but who knows how much longer we’ll be allowed to stand in front of this gigantic fence?”
Eight campaigners with the UK Guantánamo Network gathered in Parliament Square on July 3, 2024, Including campaigners from across London and the south east, and Anna Fauzy-Ackroyd from the Isle of Wight (3rd from left), who joined the vigil before moving on to Australia House (with another three of us) for a celebration of Julian Assange’s freedom on his 53rd birthday. For the five years that Julian Assange was held in Belmarsh, campaigners held a vigil there every Wednesday, as well as holding vigils in Piccadilly Circus and outside Belmarsh itself. (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Campaigners with Amnesty International, the World Can’t Wait and other groups on the steps of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue on July 3, 2024. Debra Sweet, the national director of the World Can’t Wait, wrote, “A good turnout, sandwiched in between the ridiculous SCOTUS ruling, and the ridiculous ‘Independence Day’ today, which we protested at Revolution Books with quite a rousing ‘nothing to celebrate about America’ event.” (Photo: Hideko Otane).
Campaigners with Amnistía Internacional México outside Polyforum Siqueiros in Mexico City on July 3, 2024. A cultural, political and social facility, it was built between 1970 and 1971, designed and decorated by the social realist painter and muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and featuring the largest mural in the world, ‘La Marcha de la Humanidad.’ Natalia Rivera Scott wrote, “Siqueiros was an amazing Mexican muralist, he was jailed in the other place we took photos of in another vigil (the little castle, former prison) and these murals are very damaged but still beautiful and very powerful.”
Campaigners in Brussels with the Comité Free.Assange.Belgium calling for the closure of Guantánamo after the success of securing the release of Julian Assange.
Campaigners with Amnesty International and the World Can’t Wait in San Francisco on July 3, 2024. Gavrilah Wells sent this photo from San Francisco, and noted, “A few lovely new friends joined us tonight!”
Campaigners with AIUSA Local Group 78, Detroit, outside the Federal Building in Detroit on July 3, 2024. Geraldine Grunow wrote, “We had a good turnout, despite the hot, windy weather. And unusually encouraging responses from cars, pedestrians, cyclists — and a city bus! Thanks for all the inspiration to do this every month; it’s heartening to know that we’re part of a bigger movement.”
Campaigners with the Peacemakers of Schoharie County in Cobleskill, NY on July 3, 2024. Sue Spivack wrote, “We had seven participants, and got a fair number of thumbs-ups and approving honks.”

The vigils in Minneapolis and Los Angeles took place without being recorded. From Minneapolis, Aaron Tovo wrote, “Our hands were full holding up banners so nobody was about to get a picture. Overall, traffic was light because of the July 4 holiday but the weather was beautiful and we had a good time out there.” In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Jon Krampner went down to City Hall in his orange jumpsuit, with his Amnesty placard, but found it largely deserted, although a group of young black women asked him if he had just gotten out of jail. As usual, because he has no phone or camera, he asked people to take photos of him and to send them to him, but nothing arrived in his inbox.

It was a historic day — for different reasons — in the UK and the US. In the former, those of us who gathered in Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament, were aware that it was, almost certainly, the last day of 14 ruinous years of Tory rule, an expectation that was fulfilled the day after, when the Tories were wiped out, and the Labour Party secured a massive majority.

In the US, meanwhile, those who gathered outside the White House and across the country were aware that it was the day before Independence Day, when, this year in particular, the promise of freedom from executive tyranny, first enacted 248 years ago, was cruelly betrayed just two days before, when, on July 1, the Supreme Court, tipped into a fascist majority by Donald Trump’s three appointments, continued their remorseless progress towards reinventing the US as a kind of Gilead (the misogynist religious dictatorship at the heart of Margaret Attwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”) by ruling that no laws can prevent the president from doing whatever he wants in the claimed pursuit of his role as commander in chief — or, to put it another way, that any “official acts” a president takes — even beyond the office’s “core constitutional functions” — enjoy “presumptive immunity” from prosecution.

To be fair, although this ruling is an abomination, it isn’t news to those of us campaigning against the existence of Guantánamo for the last 22 years, because the establishment of that enduring symbol of US lawlessness was an early indicator of executive overreach, a dream come true for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who, when serving under Ronald Reagan, had embraced the notion of the Unitary Executive Theory, which, as they saw it, meant that neither Congress nor the federal courts can tell the President what to do or how to do it, particularly regarding national security matters.

As always on our vigils, we were not only calling for the closure of Guantánamo, which will have been open for 22 and a half years on Thursday, but also, specifically, for the release of the 16 men (out of the 30 still held) who have long been approved for release, but are still held because the decisions that were taken to approve them to be freed were purely administrative, and no legal mechanism exists to oblige the government to release them if, as is apparent, they have no interest in prioritizing their release.

Every month I update a poster showing how long these men have been waiting to be freed since those decisions were taken, which showed that, on July 3, they had been waiting for between 649 and 1,343 days to be freed, and in three outlying cases for 5,276 days, and this poster can be seen in the second of the additional London photos below.

The vigils take place on the first Wednesday of the month, and you’re most welcome to join us at the next vigils, on August 7.

Anna Fauzy-Ackroyd in London with the poster showing the 16 men still held at Guantánamo despite having been long approved for release.
Anne Fitchett in London with the updated poster showing how long the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo have been held since those decisions were taken.
Another photo from New York with Debra Sweet and a young woman who had stopped by and taken an interest in the vigil. (Photo: Hideko Otane).
A screenshot from a video taken by Hideko Otane of the Raging Grannies singing for the closure of
Guantánamo in New York.
Another photo from Mexico City.
And another photo from Mexico City.
Skateboarders Ryan, Anjelo and Diego in San Francisco.
Another photo from Detroit.
Another photo from Cobleskill, NY.
Another photo from Brussels.

* * * * *

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.

One Response

  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 ten vigils for the closure of Guantanamo that took place across the US and around the world on July 3, 2024 — in Washington, D.C., London, New York City, Mexico City, Brussels, San Francisco, Detroit, Cobleskill, NY, Minneapolis and Los Angeles — which were the latest in an ongoing series of monthly coordinated global vigils that began last year.

    It was a significant day in the UK — the day before the General Election that finally rid us of the Tories after 14 abominably long years of of cruelty, incompetence and corruption — and in the US too, although for less celebratory reasons — the day before Independence Day, when the celebration of freedom from executive tyranny was rather savagely undermined by a Supreme Court ruling on July 1, in which the right-wing court reinforced executive tyranny on the part of the president, ruling that any “official acts” a president takes, even beyond the office’s “core constitutional functions”, enjoy “presumptive immunity” from prosecution.

    The vigils take place on the first Wednesday of every month, the next date is August 7, and we’d love to have a new vigil come on board in these dying months of the Biden administration. We may be small, but we have big hearts, and it’s quite remarkable how much solidarity we all feel from taking part in simultaneous protests around the world.

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

RSS

Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium

XHTML & CSS

WordPress

Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:

Archives

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

Campaigns

Categories

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