Momentum builds to free Assange

October 6, 2023
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'Free Julian Assange' banner at Meanjin/Brisbane's May Day march. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

A cross-party delegation of Australian politicians visited the United States in September to lobby for an end to US attempts to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Prior to the trip, more than 60 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum publicly declared that “the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”.

Their open letter said it is “wrong for Mr Assange to be further persecuted and denied his liberty when one considers the duration and circumstances of the detention he has already suffered”.

Raine Sinclair from the Melbourne4Assange campaign told Green Left that it seems the campaign to free Assange has reached a “tipping point”.

The delegation of six politicians “represent the entire political spectrum, which is essentially the whole of Australia” and have “vastly different views” on issues such as the Voice referendum and COVID-19 vaccines, said Sinclair. “[H]owever, they all oppose the persecution of Julian Assange and want him brought home.”

“This is really quite extraordinary,” she said.

The support for Assange from Australian politicians reflects growing support for Assange among ordinary people.

There are a range of campaign activities coming up where people can add their support. These include a film screening in Lismore on October 12, a dance party in Melbourne on October 28, and the Truth Not War festival in Canberra on November 12.

Assange supporters will also be joining the protest outside the ACT court when whistleblower David McBride faces trial on November 13.

Sinclair also encouraged Green Left readers to join the campaign's “Meet your MP” program. The program organises local constituents to persuade parliamentarians to join the Bring Assange Home Parliamentary Friends group, or to thank them in person if they’ve already joined.

Sinclair believes the Australian government should be pressuring Britain to repatriate Assange to Australia.

“The UK could actually save some face (and thousands of tax payer dollars) if they follow their own rule of not extraditing on political grounds,” she told GL. “The whole world knows Julian Assange is a political prisoner.”

Sinclair also called on people to boycott US products.

“When I was a youngster in New Zealand and the French bombed our Rainbow Warrior, we boycotted everything French,” she said.

“Australians who want Julian free should be boycotting everything US.”

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