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hunger strike,refusal to eat as a protest against existing conditions. Although most often used by prisoners, others have also employed it. For example, Mohandas GandhiGandhi, Mohandas Karamchand
, 1869–1948, Indian political and spiritual leader, b. Porbandar. In South Africa
Educated in India and in London, he was admitted to the English bar in 1889 and practiced law unsuccessfully in India for two years.
..... Click the link for more information. in India and Cesar ChavezChavez, Cesar Estrada
, 1927–93, American agrarian labor leader, b. near Yuma, Ariz. A migrant worker, he became involved (1952) in the self-help Community Service Organization (CSO) in California, working among Mexicans and Mexican Americans; from 1958 to 1962 he was its
..... Click the link for more information. in California fasted as religious penance during otherwise political or economic disputes. An ancient device, the hunger strike was revived in England in the early 20th cent. by militant woman suffragists and became the accepted technique of those sentenced for suffragist activities. The passage of the so-called Cat-and-Mouse Act in 1913, by which the prisoners in ill health due to fasting could be temporarily discharged, ended the forced feeding to which the authorities had resorted. The Franchise Act of 1918 ended the suffragist hunger strikes in England. The hunger strike was used by Irish nationalists in 1912 and again later on. Hunger strikes were used by members of Sinn FéinSinn Féin
[Irish,=we, ourselves], Irish nationalist movement. It had its roots in the Irish cultural revival at the end of the 19th cent. and the growing nationalist disenchantment with the constitutional Home Rule movement.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1920, and Terence MacSwiney, lord mayor of Cork, died in a London prison after a fast of 74 days. Thereafter, hunger striking was forbidden by the Sinn Féin. It was used again in the 1970s and 1980s by imprisoned members of the Irish Republican ArmyIrish Republican Army
(IRA), nationalist organization devoted to the integration of Ireland as a complete and independent unit. Organized by Michael Collins from remnants of rebel units dispersed after the Easter Rebellion in 1916 (see Ireland), it was composed of the more
..... Click the link for more information. . Hunger striking was used between 1917 and 1919 by American woman suffragists and also by conscientious objectors imprisoned in the United States. During the Vietnam War, the Roman Catholic priests Daniel and Philip BerriganBerrigan brothers
, American Catholic priests, writers, and social activists. Daniel Berrigan, 1921–2016, b. Syracuse, N.Y., was ordained in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1952.
..... Click the link for more information. used the hunger strike in 1969 at Danbury Prison, Conn., where they had been imprisoned for destroying draft records. In 1970 inmates in California's Soledad Prison used it on a massive scale to protest prison conditions. and in 2000–2001 several hundred leftist inmates in Turkish prisons and others in Turkey used "death fasts" to protest prison conditions. Alleged TalibanTaliban
, Islamic fundamentalist militia of Afghanistan and later Pakistan, originally consisting mainly of Sunni Pashtun religious students from Afghanistan who were educated and trained in Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information. and Al QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information. members held at Guantánamo Bay by the United States since 2002 have also used hunger strikes to protest their imprisonment there.