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Connecticut Man Protests Guantanamo – Again – at the White House

January 11, 2012

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut man who has protested, fasted, and even gone to Cuba in an effort to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo is in Washington, D.C., today to mark the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners from the war on terror.

New Haven peace activist Mark Colville for years has protested the policy of holding prisoners without charge or trial at Guantanamo. Wearing an orange jumpsuit and black hood, Colville is part of a group in the eighth day of a 10-day fast outside the White House, calling on President Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to close the prison.

"It's a shameful anniversary, but it's one that we wanted to mark with a very strong and unified demand to close Guantanamo once and for all, and close all of what Guantanamo is a symbol of."

A focus of this week's protest, Colville says, is the National Defense Authorization Act, which Obama signed Dec. 31 despite saying earlier that he would veto it.

Colville says the act "gives the president the power to detain anybody without charge and without trial, including American citizens, simply on suspicion of the president that that person is supporting groups that are in opposition to the United States."

Obama says small changes made in the bill enabled him to sign it. A spokesman for the president says he still wants to close the prison, but Congress has thrown up roadblocks.

Of the 171 prisoners remaining at the site, Colville says, more than half have been cleared for release.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT