LOS ANGELES, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- A coalition of groups rallied in front of the U.S. Federal building in Los Angeles on Friday to demand the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba.
The event, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, the Tenth Amendment Center, the Republican Liberty Caucus, Occupy Los Angeles and the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, was held to mark the 11th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba.
Organizers claimed that the opening of Guantanamo prison represents the human rights violations, torture, detention without charge, unfair trials and impunity for crimes by U.S. government officials.
According to the Uprising Radio based in Los Angeles, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center received its first 20 prisoners on Jan. 11, 2002, and since then shocking revelations of prisoner abuse, prisoner suicide and repeated desecrations of the Koran have dogged both the Bush and Obama administrations.
The radio said that at its peak, Guantanamo housed a total of 779 detainees from 28 countries, including 15 children, according to military documents. Today 166 remain locked up in the center while 600 have been transferred to other facilities.
Despite that U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Jan. 22, 2009 to shut down Guantanamo prison within one year, he has failed to live up to his promise, the radio said.
Obama is faced with great obstacles to fulfil his promise of closing Guantanamo. A Washington Post/ABC poll released in February 2012 showed 70 percent of the respondents agreed to keep Guantanamo open. In May 2009 the Senate and the House of Representatives voted to prevent any detainees held at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to the United States.
Civil and human rights groups criticized Obama on hampering his own ability to shut down Guantanamo prison.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said President Obama has "utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before Inauguration Day... he has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency."
According to www.Closeguantanamo.org website, 532 Guantanamo prisoners were released under President George W. Bush, who had seen mounting international criticism over the issue especially during his second term.
However, since President Obama came to power, a political fiasco has turned into "a deeply cynical game of political football," the website said.