By Alan Wirzbicki, Globe correspondent
WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of protestors clad in orange jumpsuits and black hoods gathered at the White House this morning to denounce President Obama for his opposition to an inquiry of allegations of torture at secret CIA prisons, and for the delay in release of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Some of the protestors, who have organized daily vigils across the street from the White House since the inauguration, said they voted for Obama in November and were chagrined that the president's first hundred days in office did not include more aggressively reversals of Bush administration policies regarding detentions of terrorist suspects.
"I'm disappointed," said Karen Long, 45, of Bloomfield , N.J. , who said she had supported Obama reluctantly. "So far they are still sitting there in detention," she said, referring to the roughly 250 men still held at Guantanamo .
Obama signed executive orders in January banning torture and closing Guantanamo, but the prison remains open while officials debate what to do with the detainees. Some nations are reluctant to accept their citizens who ended up at Guantanamo; in other cases, the administration is hesitant to return detainees to their home country, fearing their mistreatment.
The protestors outside the White House also called for a war crimes investigation into the Bush administration for its interrogation policies at secret CIA overseas prisons. Obama has said he is opposed to punishing CIA agents for abusing al Qaeda prisoners in 2002 and 2003, but he left the door open to prosecuting the Bush administration officials who wrote the memos that provided legal justification for the practices.
"We need accountability, not immunity," said Matthew Daloiso of Witness Against Torture, one of the groups that organized the demonstration.
The demands echo calls by some Congressional Democrats to convene a formal investigation into the Bush administrationís interrogation policies. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, wants a "truth commission" to reveal the facts, while his counterpart in the House, Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, backs a congressional inquiry.
Obama has said he fears that an investigation would become too politicized.
Many of the protestors had the names of individual prisoners stenciled on the back of their jumpsuits. Tim Chadwick, 55, of Bethlehem , Penn. , wore the name of Adel Fattough Ali Al Gazzar, 43, an Egyptian who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2002.
"I feel very much connected to the human being who is down at Guantanamo ," Chadwick said.
Chadwick was one of about 60 protestors who were arrested in front of the White House at the conclusion of the rally and driven off in a District of Columbia bus borrowed by police for the occasion.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.