The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition (SAWC) is inviting people to join their float in this year’s Mardi Gras parade on March 2.
Spokesperson Linda Pearson said: “SAWC is entering a float in this year’s Mardi Gras to raise awareness about Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, and to demonstrate our solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex communities. We also wanted to offer our supporters this opportunity to take part in what will be a unique and enjoyable event.
“Gay US soldier Private Bradley Manning has been imprisoned for nearly 1000 days without trial for allegedly leaking classified US government documents to WikiLeaks.
“For months he was kept in conditions amounting to torture and faces a long prison sentence, even though he was acting to expose evidence of war crimes, human rights abuses and corruption on a global scale. Bradley is a hero – he should not be punished for this great service to democracy.
“Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been effectively detained in the UK for more than two years, even though he hasn’t been charged with any offence in any country. He's facing extradition to the US on espionage charges for merely exercising his right as a journalist to publish the truth.
“Our float will highlight the Australian government’s shameful abandonment of Assange. They have sacrificed the rights and welfare of an Australian citizen in deference to the US alliance.
“The Sydney Mardi Gras is the biggest event of its kind in the world with up to 500,000 people watching the parade on the streets and even more online. By taking part, we’re showing the world that Sydney stands in solidarity with Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.”
Organisers welcome anyone who wants to take part. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and any style of clothing in rainbow colours. Black-and-white Bradley Manning and Julian Assange face-masks on sticks will be provided.
Participants are asked to donate $25 to cover costs. Extra funds will be used to fund future SAWC events.
To reserve a place on the float, email email@example.com.