On the eleventh anniversary of the reopening of the illegal prison and torture centre at Guantánamo Bay, a demonstration in Washington D.C. on Wednesday demanded that US President Joe Biden close the naval base on Cuban soil.

Demonstrators outside the White House wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads, mimicking the attire worn by the hundreds of Muslim men, adults and minors, who were detained abroad and handed over to US authorities.

In an open letter to President Biden, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Center for Constitutional Rights and more than 150 other organisations wrote: “The Guantánamo detention facility was specifically designed to circumvent legal obligations, and Bush administration officials incubated torture there. [Guantánamo continues to cause ever greater and profound harm to the elderly men whose health is worsening by the day and who remain detained there indefinitely. Most of them have not been charged and none have received a fair trial,” Democracy Now! quoted the organisation, which also warned that 35 people remain imprisoned at Guantánamo.

On the same day, the peace organisation CodePink disrupted a Brookings Institution talk on US defence policy featuring Democratic Congressman Adam Smith.

The activists took to the stage to ask the audience for more diplomacy, not more war, in reference to the funding of the war in Ukraine. They also called on Democrats to put more pressure on Biden to address national security by tackling the climate change crisis, providing housing solutions for people and shifting the focus away from the arms industry. “Instead of allocating $880 billion for the war, we should focus on social services,” said CodePink representative Olivia DiNucci.