A crowd of up to 200 protesters met in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the “Rally for Assange and WikiLeaks: Don’t Shoot the Messenger” at Sydney Town Hall on October 6.
As well as an end to the persecution of Assange, protesters called for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. This year marks 11 years since the US-led invasion and occupation of the nation.
Although drab weather did deter some, the strength of the crowd was still felt through the bellowing of a “WikiLeaks ballad”, which captured the attention of many passersby.
“Your dirty little secret ain’t a secret anymore; we know what you’re doing in your dirty little war. It’s the same thing you’ve been doing time and time before. Your dirty little secret ain’t a secret anymore,” sang the crowd.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon addressed the crowd and commended the Ecuadorian government’s support for Assange when the government of his own country had failed so miserably.
“We have an Australian government that is not doing its job, but the Australian public certainly has not abandoned Julian Assange,” Rhiannon said.
“His stand for transparency is something we will continue to support, we need to raise our voice because transparency needs to be the foundation of government.”
Other speakers included journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, Christine Keavney from the Stop the War Coalition, Aloysia Brooks from The Justice Campaign and Paul McAleer, the Sydney branch secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.
Anne Picot, a spokesperson for the Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition, which organised the event together with the Stop the War Coalition, said the rally helped continue the fight against the war in Afghanistan and for justice for Assange.
“We would like to see the troops home from Afghanistan and war reparations paid to Afghanistan,” she told Green Left Weekly. “We’d like to see Julian Assange released so he can defend his name against the Swedish allegations and be free to pursue his career as a journalist.”