Solidarity extends from a Yorkshire spy base to Guantánamo hunger strikers

IssueApril 2013
News by David Polden

On 12 March, demonstrators protested at Menwith Hill US spy base in Yorkshire in support of US military whistle-blower Bradley Manning, currently on trial, and against the treatment of Guantánamo Bay detainees, many of whom are hunger-striking against deteriorating prison conditions.

At Menwith Hill, they attached a banner saying ‘The Shame of Guantánamo Bay’ to the fence while one demonstrator, dressed in a hooded orange jumpsuit resembling those that Guantánamo prisoners are forced to wear, held up an inverted US flag with ‘Thank you Bradley Manning’ on it.

The hunger strike at the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba began on 6 February.

By 18 March, it was reported that over 100 detainees were participating.

It began after staff reportedly seized inmates’ personal belongings, including letters, photographs and Qur’ans in ‘a sacriligious manner’ during searches of cells. Lawyers for the detainees reported that some of the hunger strikers were ‘coughing up blood’ and ‘losing consciousness’.

The UN recently issued a statement saying that the US was violating international human rights law by holding the Guantánamo detainees indefinitely without trial. They have been held for up to 11 years without being tried for any crime.