For Immediate Release         January 7, 2008

Event: Rally and march to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay Prison
Date: Friday, January 11, 2008
Time: 5:00 PM
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway & SW Yamhill, downtown

PPRC      (503) 344-5078

Peace and Justice Works      (503) 236-3065

Portlanders to Rally and March to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay Prison
Action in Solidarity with International Efforts
Friday, January 11, 2008, 5 PM, Pioneer Courthouse Square

Local peace and justice groups are joining an international call to action to shut down the U.S. prison complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this Friday, January 11, 2008. The local action will take place beginning at the SW corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway and Yamhill, in downtown Portland, before a march begins at approximately 5:15 PM.

Over 300 people have been held at Guantanamo since 2002, most without access to legal help, and many exposed to harsh conditions that many consider torture. In February, 2006, the National Journal wrote an investigative piece that showed: "Some of ... the terrorists, the trainers, the financiers, and the battlefield captures -- are indeed at Guantanamo. But National Journal's detailed review of government files on 132 prisoners who have asked the courts for help, and a thorough reading of heavily censored transcripts from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals conducted in Guantanamo for 314 prisoners, didn't turn up very many of them. Most of the 'enemy combatants' held at Guantanamo -- for four years now -- are simply not the worst of the worst of the terrorist world.

"Many of them are not accused of hostilities against the United States or its allies. Most, when captured, were innocent of any terrorist activity, were Taliban foot soldiers at worst, and were often far less than that. And some, perhaps many, are guilty only of being foreigners in Afghanistan or Pakistan at the wrong time. And much of the evidence -- even the classified evidence -- gathered by the Defense Department against these men is flimsy, second- , third-, fourth- or 12th-hand. It's based largely on admissions by the detainees themselves or on coerced, or worse, interrogations of their fellow inmates, some of whom have been proved to be liars."-1

Witness Against Torture has declared January 11, the six years anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo, an International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo. In Washington, DC, they will be holding a demonstration at the National Mall followed by a procession to the Supreme Court. Actions are currently planned in 30 cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, London, Paris and elsewhere.

Local groups organizing the Friday rally include Peace and Justice Works (PJW), Portland Peaceful Response Coalition (PPRC) and Women in Black. PJW and PPRC echo the national call for participants to wear orange t- shirts, armbands or other orange clothing on January 11th to mark the date.

Endorsers of the national action include Center for Constitutional Rights, Peace Action, United for Peace and Justice, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

For up-to-date details on the international actions, visit

PPRC has held weekly rallies since November of 2001 at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Pioneer Courthouse Square Inc., the private corporation that administers the Square, has recently made efforts to roll back the activities of the Friday rally. From the beginning, participants have used a battery-powered megaphone and is often accompanied by the No War Drum Corps. On December 21st, individuals at the Friday rally were informed that using the megaphone or playing drums on Pioneer Courthouse Square would result in a citation issued by the City of Portland Noise Control officer. Such citations can result in a fine of up to $5,000. PPRC has contacted local civil rights legal organizations to determine how to respond. Rally organizers are unsure whether participants might be cited for this coming Friday, but intend to proceed as they have for the past six years.

For local information call Peace and Justice Works at 503-236-3065 or Portland Peaceful Response Coalition at 503- 344-5078.

1--"Empty Evidence" By Corine Hegland, National Journal Friday, Feb. 3, 2006

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Page posted January 9, 2008