17 December 2014: St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Chelsea Manning’s 27th birthday, the fifth she has spent in prison for telling the truth, was marked in a number of cities around the world including London and Dublin. As well as the London vigil at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, there was a Noise Demo at the US Embassy later in the day.
Ben Martin wrote about the vigil in this post on indymedia:
Over 50 people attended the Vigil to celebrate Chelsea Manning’s birthday in London on Wednesday afternoon. The event was part of an international day of events demanding to free one of the world best known whistleblower. The vigil, organised by Queer Strike and Payday men’s network was one of the actions taken place in 12 cities – from Dublin to Istanbul, Boston to Rome.
Sputnik News also reported on the event:
Campaigners occupied the steps of St Martin’s-in-the-Field church for the London vigil as Chelsea, who is serving a 35-year sentence after leaking hundreds of thousands of documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars while stationed in Iraq as a US military analyst, spent her fifth birthday in jail.
“I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price for living in a free society,” Chelsea said last year when her lawyers appealed the heavy sentence handed down after she was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act and other offences.
Later in the indymedia article, Ben Martin quotes organisers Didi Rossi from Queer Strike:
Chelsea is our LGBTQ anti-war whistleblower heroine. Her disclosures have strengthened and protected people from all backgrounds and communities internationally. We have benefited from her whistleblowing and we all have a responsibility to get her out.
and Giorgio Riva from Payday:
Chelsea’s action has inspired a new movement of whistleblowers, with people like Edward Snowden, but also thousands of lesser known people working in institutions of all types. The authorities hope to make an example of Chelsea in an attempt to hinder a now unstoppable movement.