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Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk Demonstration in North Edinburgh to mark 6th Anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay camp Demonstrators recreating the Guantanamo Bay submission position in the heart of EdinburghAmnesty International UK organised their latest demonstration calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, on Friday 11th January, outside the US Consulate. 200 people of all ages gathered outside the US Consulate on Regent Terrace, and marched in orange boiler suits to assume the infamous submission position at the foot of The Mound in the City Centre.
Demonstrators in orange boiler suits are commanded to get down in front of the US Consulate in Regent Terrace, EdinburghAn organiser handing out orange boiler suits on Regent Terrace, whilst people get ready for the demo.The demonstration was one of many that took place around the world. A petition calling for the base to be closed was handed in to the White House, signed by over 1200 parliamentarians from around the world, including 53 members of the Scottish Parliament, Malcolm Chisholm among them. Lothians Green MSP Robin Harper was present at the US Consulate.

John Watson of Amnesty International's Scottish team handed over a letter to the Consulate which declared "Hundreds of people remain detained in Guantanamo, without charge and with little hope of a fair trial.The existence of this legal black hole has utterly failed to make the world a safer place - instead it has undermined human rights and the rule of law and had a disastrous effect on respect for human rights around the world. Despite international outrage and the US authorities' own stated wish to close the camp, Guantanamo is still holding detainees illegally and prisoners are still arriving at the camp."

Singers from Protest in HarmonyPeople in orange boiler suits emulation the submission position imposed on prisoners held in the US base in Guantanamo.Singers from Protest in Harmony (pictured right,) performed a range of songs dedicated to peace outside the Conuslate, and later at the foot of the Mound. Any communal singing can enliven a demo, but these were harmonised vocals of a high standard.

The demonstration was remarkable for the lack of speeches, and John Watson (of Amnesty International,) was twice a model of brevity.

EIS members & supporters outside Telford College gate in the rainThe demonstrators left Regent Terrace, and walked along Waterloo Place and up Princes St to the gathering place at the foot of the Mound. The march took place along the pavements. Leith & North's reporter felt that this had more direct visual impact for passers by than a march in the middle of the road would have done.

Once again, they reenacted the image of prisoners kneeling before guards, in the heart of Scotland's Capital at lunch time. Kneeling for a brief while on the (generally) safe, wet stones of Scotland, cannot compare with the hidden experiences of Guantanamo prisoners, but the brief moment of discomfort and vulnerability did give an opportunity to reflect on the meaning behind the all too familiar images of submission and degradation.

Leith & North will be covering next year's event, and hopes that by 2010, the US will have an administration which takes a role in teaching the value of human rights without exemption, exception, or excuse, and which believes, with us, that the most valuable guarantee and defense against the twin evils of tyranny and terrorism is for everyone to grow up honouring and treasuring all life.

Amnesty International UK web site >>>
Protest in Harmony >>>
Blog account by freelance journalist, Fay Young >>>
Wikipedia article on the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp >>>

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Leith & North would like to thank Phil Attridge for taking photos which enabled our reporter to take part in the demonstration.