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Georgia march protests death of detainee

Published Dec 3, 2009 10:00 PM
Photo: Robert Watkins

Some 100 people gathered at the town square in Lumpkin, Ga., on Nov. 20 to protest the conditions at the nearby Stewart Detention Center, a privately owned prison that holds 1,800 immigrants awaiting deportation. Operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, the facility is located almost two miles outside of Lumpkin in an isolated area.

Following a series of speeches by immigrant rights activists and a former employee of the detention center, the crowd marched to the gates of the prison, where three large buses blocked the view of the complex. Undeterred, the protesters held a memorial service for Roberto Martinez Medina, a 39-year-old worker from Mexico who died in March from a treatable heart infection after his pleas for medical assistance were ignored by prison staff. More than 100 immigrants have died while in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the last few years.

The action was organized by the Georgia Detention Watch and supported by numerous groups, including the SOA Watch.