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12 Arrested In Anti-Guantanamo Protest At Federal Courthouse

Guantanamo Protest At Federal Courthouse

Members of the group Witness Against Torture held a “die-in” at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse Monday to protest the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. (Credit: Witness Against Torture)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A dozen people protesting the holding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were arrested Monday as they staged a “die-in” on the steps of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse Monday.

The 12 members of the group Witness Against Torture were arrested around 3 p.m. on the steps of the courthouse, at 40 Centre St. in Foley Square.

Some protesters on Centre Street wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods, holding signs with names of men who have died in U.S. custody at the prison.

They lay on the steps as if dead, with signs reading, “I died waiting,” along with the names of deceased prisoners, according to a news release from the group.

The group said protesters wanted to draw attention to 84 men at Guantanamo who are on a hunger strike – a group that amounts to more than half of the 166 Guantanamo prisoners.

The hunger strike began on Feb. 6, and the inmates involved were placed in solitary confinement following a raid by guards earlier this month, the group said in a news release. The group said 16 of the men were being force-fed.

“The hunger strike is the predictable result of a failed policy of indefinite detention that is morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable,” Witnesses Against Torture organizer Jeremy Varon said in the release. “If action is not taken to change that policy, more prisoners will die and our nation’s shame will deepen.”

Those arrested were given desk appearance tickets, charged with creating a disturbance.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment. A court spokeswoman confirmed the arrests.

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