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1 May, 2009 01:32

Anti-torture rally hits Washington

More than 100 anti–torture activists marched to the White House on Thursday to protest against US detention policy. They also voiced anger against what they consider to be the government’s refusal to punish those respons

Up to 100 Guantanamo bay detainees cannot be released or put on trial, the U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said. And on Thursday morning protesters wearing orange jumpsuits took it to the streets of Washington D.C.

Led by a group called ‘Witness against torture,’ demonstrators attacked Barack Obama’s policies towards the detainees and what they call his reluctance to punish those responsible for committing acts of torture.

”I think that Obama needs to act more swiftly in terms of prosecuting those that have committed violations,” Zahir Janmohamed said, Middle East director of Amnesty International, who took part in the rally. “I think there needs to be a complete overhaul of foreign policy and I think Obama has made some steps towards that but there’s still much more that he needs to do.”

Protestors said that their ultimate goal was to draw as much government attention to their stance as possible.

“You try to put as much pressure as you can on the President, the Attorney General, and so on. Exactly what we will do, what the effect will be, we never know,” one of the protesters said.

The demonstrators expressed support for a criminal inquiry into torture under the Bush administration but said that president Barack Obama had been reluctant to start such an investigation.