Seventeen arrested after Guantanamo protest

San Francisco - Police arrested 17 people and hauled out several others from a makeshift prison cell that had been erected downtown as part of a demonstration against what protesters said on Monday was torture sanctioned by the US government.

The rally organised by Act Against Torture - a group which calls for the closure of the US-run terror detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison - coincided with the third anniversary of US-led invasion of Iraq.

More than 100 protesters stood behind police barricades outside the office of Democratic US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

"Our government is openly torturing people and detaining them indefinitely and we have to put an end to it," said Ayah Young, 23, a San Francisco State University student. "This was fairly effective even though it wasn't a huge turnout. It was spiritual and peaceful and we got our message across."

Several demonstrators wearing orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by Guantanamo detainees carted the prison cell into the street and hopped inside while others held banners and stood sentinel holding anti-torture and anti-Bush banners.

Those arrested will be cited for failing to obey police and blocking an intersection, said San Francisco police Sergeant Neville Gittens. - Sapa-AP


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