Guantanamo Bay detention camp

Protest at US consulate condemns detentions at Guantanamo Bay

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am

Three men yesterday staged a protest outside the United States' consulate in Central over America's use of the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Police, security guards and visa seekers looked on as the men unveiled a banner reading 'Shut down Guantanamo' in English and 'Humanity's shame - Guantanamo' in Chinese just after 8.30am.

Group leader Po Tin-wing said the men, who were not close friends, had organised their protest through a Christian forum on the internet. Mr Po was not sure of the other men's names.

He said the long queue of visa seekers did not appear to be interested in their protest but added that perhaps they could 'take something' from it, as protests in the city about issues outside Hong Kong were rare.

'People in Hong Kong are sometimes too concerned about their own lives to consider the plight of others,' he said.

'These people [at Guantanamo] have been held there for too long now. It is really time for the US to close this camp down. You can't rely on politicians - just look at Hong Kong's democracy struggle - you have to rely on the people.'

Mr Po said the protest ended peacefully at 10.30am. He praised the police for their friendly attitude. However, security guards had appeared edgy and scared, he said.

'We achieved our goal. Many people passing on buses and in cars saw the banner. Some will think about it, some won't.'

The US has held suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban members captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere at Guantanamo Bay since 2002.