Free Julian Assange, London demonstrators speak


A London demonstrator demands freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ANP photo

From daily News Line in London, England:

Friday, 12 April 2019

POLICE DRAG ASSANGE OUT OF EMBASSY

WIKILEAKS co-founder Julian Assange was forcibly arrested and dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London yesterday. In an unprecedented move the embassy allowed the British police in, despite Assange being an Ecuadorian citizen under their protection.

Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden which was seen as a precursor to further extradition to the US where he could face charges after exposing the terror that the US and UK forces unleashed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum ‘in violation of international law’. …

WikiLeaks have tweeted, claiming Assange has been ‘arrested for extradition to the United States for publishing’. The whistleblower garnered massive international attention in 2010 when WikiLeaks released classified US military footage, entitled ‘Collateral Murder’, of a US Apache helicopter gunship in Iraq opening fire on a number of people, killing 12 including two Reuters staff, and injuring two children.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

“Our fight only starts now” according to angry Assange supporters

“Free, free, free Assange!” The supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are furious about his arrest. During the seven years that he was hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy, activists regularly stood in front of the impressive building in West London. They gathered yesterday in front of the court where he was brought.

Dozens of people demand that Assange be released immediately. They hold up banners with Free Speech, Hands off Assange and Don’t shoot the messenger.

London demonstrator Clara, with pictures of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, photo NOS | Suse van Kleef

One of them is Clara, who has been following Assange for years. For the past seven years she has been at the embassy about three times a week to support him. After the news about his arrest, she immediately came to the court. “The police just dragged him outside, very humiliating. We knew this was coming, but I was not expecting that the British police would take him out of the embassy like that. I find it very painful to see”.

The Assange supporters see him as a martyr of free speech and his arrest as an outright violation of freedom of the press.

Student Fionn therefore does not understand that the British are cooperating in the charges against him: “We live in a democracy, have rights and principles. How is it possible that this man, who did nothing wrong, is arrested? He has only told the truth. I see Assange as the Nelson Mandela of the 21st century.”

Demonstrating student Fionn, photo NOS | Suse van Kleef

The Colombian-British Alberto has been part of the hard core of the demonstrators for four years and is convinced of Assange‘s innocence. He cannot believe that he is “not safe” in England. “They say he didn’t follow the rules while staying at the embassy. He and WikiLeaks, they say, have published private photos of the Ecuadorian president. Why would he do that? This is just a conspiracy to extradite him to the USA.”

Alberto, photo NOS | Suse van Kleef

Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, is the only person who can silence the group of activists. In her statement on the sidewalk of the court, she says that Assange’s arrest is a major danger for journalists and media in Europe and the rest of the world. “A precedent is set here. This means that any journalist can be extradited to the United States for publishing truths about the USA.”

So, Clara is very combative. “We are shouting our lungs out of our bodies here, because the real fight is only just beginning”, she says. “It will be proven in court that he has done nothing wrong and just used his freedom of speech. He is the most important advocate of the free press in the world. And then he will hopefully be a free man someday.”

11 thoughts on “Free Julian Assange, London demonstrators speak

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