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Jacksonville protesters demand closure of Guantanamo Bay prison

By staff

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Jacksonville, FL – 25 protesters gathered at Memorial Park at noon, Jan. 31 to call for an end to U.S. torture practices. The Jacksonville chapter of Veterans for Peace led the rally and demanded the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay military base as well as all U.S. torture ‘black sites’ around the world.

Protesters first heard moving words from military veteran Wells Todd, who spoke of the history of U.S. torture techniques and the specifics of how detainees at Guantanamo Bay are treated. Organizers then led a march to U.S. Congressman Ander Crenshaw's office to deliver a letter demanding his support for the efforts to close Guantanamo Bay.

A member of Jacksonville Veterans for Peace stated, “We at the VFP believe these interrogation techniques are morally and legally wrong and are inconsistent with our values as Americans.”

Protesters heard several more speeches before heading to a busy intersection known as Five Points. Veterans on bullhorns led protesters with chants such as “Close Gitmo now,” “Hey hey ho ho, Guantanamo has got to go,” and “One, two, three, four, Obama close those prison doors. Five, six, seven, eight, stop the torture, stop the hate.”

“The March Against Torture rally put on by the Veterans for Peace was something that was really needed here in Jacksonville. It's so important to stand united against the oppression of basic human rights. As Americans, we are not okay with that and we want those responsible to stand trial for their war crimes,” said protester Dannelle Leigh.

The march closed out at Memorial Park with protesters pledging to support future Jacksonville Veterans for Peace actions.

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