Organisers of an Adelaide rally to support WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released the statement below on August 22.
* * *
Supporters of Julian Assange have organised a protest today (Wednesday, 21st August) at 5pm at Parliament House. The rally is one of many protests that have already taken place around Australia after the decision of the UK government to deny Julian Assange safe passage to Ecuador.
The rally will protest the Australian government’s refusal to put forward a statement to support of the rights of Julian Assange and the government’s stance on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which provides for ability of those seeking political Asylum in a foreign embassy to have safe passage to the country offering asylum.
The protest will also call for the release of Bradley Manning who is currently being tried in a secret court marshal hearing, which violates first amendment protections for open hearings and access to evidence.
Rally spokesperson Richard Bergin has called for the Australian government to support Julian Assange and demand that the UK government uphold his right to political asylum.
He said: “The government of Ecuador has bravely decided to offer Julian Assange political asylum and we applaud this. The UK government has an obligation under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to uphold Ecuador’s rights. The Australian government is aware of these rights and should make a statement to the UK government to help support an Australian citizen facing political persecution.
“The fact that Swedish authorities are not willing to question Mr Assange in London, or guarantee that he will not face extradition to the United States if he is sent to Sweden is troubling. There is an active campaign by the US to silence WikiLeaks and many of us in the community believe that the Australian government should denounce it.”