To stand in solidarity with those incarcerated at the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention center, students from several groups from both Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have banded together to establish a makeshift prison on the Chapel Quad.
They are protesting torture and indefinite detention, as well as petitioning for Guantanamo to close and showing support for prisoners currently on a hunger strike. Involved students said the protest will be an “indefinite occupation,” and they have planned for at least one person to be at the site at all hours for multiple days. The protest site is furnished with a small tent and signs reading “silence is violence,” among other messages.
The protestors had scheduled for student leaders and faculty members to speak out against torture and unnecessary holding of Guantanamo detainees Monday evening but had to cancel due to low attendance. Instead, a small group of participating students gathered signatures for their petition—to be sent to President Barack Obama—and discussed issues concerning Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of its prisoners.
The indefinite occupation shows that people do care about the well-being and rights of those incarcerated at Guantanamo, said junior Prashanth Kamalakanthan, Duke Students for a Democratic Society chair and columnist for The Chronicle.
Kamalakanthan said the group would like to stay on the Quad throughout Wednesday’s Last Day of Classes celebrations, but they will move if their group is no longer able to use the area.