Protest defends Assange and WikiLeaks

March 5, 2011
Photo: Ben Rushton

A rally was held on February 28 to protest against the recent decision of a London court to extradite WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual assault.

Assange’s legal team announced it would appeal the decision.

The rally was held under the themes "We deserve the truth!”, “Hands off WikiLeaks!” and “Free Julian Assange!"

Rally chairperson Ewan Saunders said supporters of free speech and democratic rights would need to increase their efforts to defend Assange and WikiLeaks in coming months. He urged rally-goers to get more involved in the campaign.

Greens representative Andrew Bartlett said WikiLeaks and Assange had challenged the power of the US and other governments, and deserved the public’s full support.

Dr Brian Senewiratne, a prominent campaigner for democracy and Tamil rights in Sri Lanka, said the case was a "fundamental issue of human rights”. He warned that if Assange was extradited to Sweden, it was likely he would be sent from there to the US and be held as a political prisoner.

“Assange should actually be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his actions against the US war machine,” he said.

Hamish Chitts, representing military veterans' group StandFast, told the rally that people should also campaign for the rights of US soldier Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of US military files, and is suffering solitary confinement in a US jail.

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