Protesters Demand Bermuda Premier's Resignation Over Guantanamo Detainees

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) - Nearly 1,000 protesters demanded Tuesday that Bermuda's premier resign, saying he should have consulted with high-ranking officials before accepting four released Guantanamo inmates.

The protesters said they are not against the presence in the British territory of the four Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs, who were declared innocent of any wrongdoing by U.S. authorities. But they said Premier Ewart Brown showed disrespect by not consulting with Britain or local police officials before making the decision.

The Uighurs arrived early Thursday in Bermuda and are expected to enroll in a guest-worker program and eventually obtain Bermudian status.

Brown addressed the crowd but was soon drowned out. Police estimated that 800 to 1,000 people took part in the protest.

"I grew up in the protest era," he said. "This is nothing new to me."

A small group of supporters were also present.

Britain has suggested that Bermuda accepted the Uighurs so the U.S. would go soft on their tax haven status, a charge local officials have denied.

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he complained to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and feels the territory should not have agreed to the deal without consulting London.

Britain handles defense, security and foreign affairs policy for Bermuda.

The men were once terrorism suspects, but even after U.S. authorities determined the men weren't a threat to the United States, they were kept at the Guantanamo prison for years because no nation would take them until Bermuda did so.

The Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to take in 13 other Uighurs still in Guantanamo.


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