NEW YORK—American peace activist Cindy Sheehan is expanding her international protest against the Bush Administration and the treatment of suspected terrorists, organizers announced today.
Sheehan, who is part of a delegation that demonstrated outside the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Thursday, said she is now organizing additional protests to, “draw global attention to this administration’s blatant disregard for human rights and dignity.”
Organizers are still working out details of the global protests, but said plans were in the works for Sheehan and other demonstrators to stage anti-Bush events in Sudan, North Korea, Burundi, Somalia and Myanmar.
“We want these peaceful nations and the entire world to understand the criminal brutality of the Bush regime,” Sheehan said. “These freedom loving people simply don’t know the atrocities being perpetrated on humanity by this administration.”
Sheehan is part of an international group of peace activists visiting Cuba this week to protest the detention of terror suspects by the U.S. military. The 12-member delegation landed in Havana Tuesday.
The 49-year-old mother from Vacaville, Calif., rose to national prominence as the “peace mom,” after her son Casey was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. Since that time, Sheehan has become an increasingly vocal critic of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy and has been arrested on numerous occasions for trespassing while protesting outside President’s Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Tex.
According to organizers, the first stop after the Cuba visit will be Darfur, Sudan, where protestors will stage a performance art demonstration depicting President Bush as a wooden club being wielded against local actors portraying baby seals. A spokesman for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir said Sheehan and the rest of her entourage “will be much welcomed for cultural learnings.”
“We have Mrs. Peace will make benefit in glorious Darfur,” said presidential spokesman Imma al-Shukup from his office in Khartoum. “All Bush cowboy finkery will be said to make badness.”
Other cities on the list include the North Korean capital of Pyongyang; Yangon, Myanmar; Bujumbura, Burundi; and Mogadishu, Somalia.
“These cities were chosen because they best reflect the sentiment we’re trying to express in shining a light on the atrocities of the Bush Administration,” said Vladimir Harpoon, communications director for the group End Republican Despotism, a non-partisan educational peace group. “From these centers of justice and compassion will spring a larger global movement to end the reign of America’s King George.”
Among those joining Sheehan on her global tour is Kofi Mohamed Safwani, a 28-year-old Pakistani who was arrested in June 2004 after police found 15 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives and detonators, transportation timetables, a cache of automatic weapons, Washington State Patrol uniforms and architectural drawings of the Seattle Space Needle in his Kirkland, Wash. apartment.
“The treatment I received at the hands of my American captors was an abomination,” said Safwani, who was held as a terrorism suspect at Guantanamo Bay for 18 months before his release in December for lack of evidence. “During my imprisonment, the Bush infidels compelled me to praise Allah from a cotton-polyester prayer matt and deprived me of Starbucks and satellite TV to view the Pakistan-Australia cricket match.”
Noting that that Darfur, Pyongyang and other cities on the tour are currently embroiled in a various forms of genocide, government-sanctioned murder and torture, some critics questioned whether Sheehan’s message would resonate. But supporters were quick to dismiss those concerns.
“We’re confident our voices will be heard,” said Harpoon. “We barked down Rahm Emanuel during his dog-and-pony show on the Hill last week and we can do it anywhere we want.”
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