19th of June 2018 Standing in solidarity with Julian #Assange of #WikiLeaks, #Unity4J

Julian Assange has completed six years inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he sought and was granted political asylum. The UK government continues to refuse safe passage to Ecuador so he remains trapped there.  Many thanks to all who joined our action outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on the 19th of June 2018 between 6-8pm to mark the event with a solidarity vigil in support of Julian Assange the publisher of WikiLeaks.

There were speeches and chanting, banners and posters, music and live performances, all in honour of the man we all admire and wish well.

We had a very special guest joining us, here she explains why she joined:

Susan Manning outside No 10 Downing Street with Musician Joe Black in solidarity with Julian Assange organised by Ciaron O’Reilly photo by Niels Ladefoged

Susan Manning: “When my daughter Chelsea Manning was imprisoned in the U.S. and asking President Obama for a pardon, Julian Assange made an offer to take her place. I was relieved that Obama released Chelsea without such a swap in the end, but Julian’s offer was courageous and generous and I’ve never forgotten it. That’s why I wanted to support this vigil calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.”

A very special thanks to Niels Ladefoged for documenting the day’s events please visit his twitter page @NielsLadefoged for more coverage of the day’s events

Andy Worthington has supported our solidarity actions for many years he gave a speech and sang for us, you can hear both at the Joe Public’s Live feed coverage at the video below.

We were so grateful to Peter Tatchell who for years has stood with us and supported our solidarity actions, returned safely from Moscow where he was arrested for highlighting the cause for LGBT rights and in particular in Chechnya.

Many supporters held posters and banners in support of Julian Assange who is persecuted for his work with WikiLeaks

For the first year ever we were joined in solidarity by WSWS website and UK associates, the Socialist Equality Party, very grateful to them travelling from all corners of the UK, may more political parties join our just cause of Freedom for Julian Assange.

Dozens came to stand with Julian Assange, many from abroad, France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, especially for the vigil. We are grateful to all who stand with us. Here the crowd is listening to the speeches.

We had the opportunity to spread our postcard campaign among early arrivals. Please participate and share in this simple way your solidarity with Julian Assange.

Our lovely @somersetbean next to his labour of love, 2 new banners for our solidarity work. Our postcard campaign ready to go at the table.

A number of wonderful speakers attended and shared our solidarity with Julian Assange, they spoke eloquently and from the heart, here, philosopher Srećko Horvat. He stressed the need to campaign for assurances from the UK government that Julian Assange, if he left the Embassy he would not be extradited to the United States and that the Freedoms enjoyed in the West should not be given up like in places ruled by dictatorships that jail and kill journalists. He said:  “In a world of fake news and fake friendships we need more leaks we need WikiLeaks and we need publishes, because Julian Assange is first and foremost a publisher, and he is also a dissident, and we need whistleblowers precisely to ask the questions.”

Lauri Love spoke from the heart about standing up for Julian, explaining his own troubles of persecution by the US due to his activism in memory  of internet prodigy and Transparency hero Aaron Swartz. He highlighted the role the Courage Foundation played in supporting him during his extradition  process to the US in which they helped him prevail and the role WikiLeaks played in founding the Courage Foundation. “Unless Truth can be spoken to Power, there is always abuses and excesses, and injustices and we can see throughout the periods in which Julian has been has been detained that the world has become a much less safer place because of the unchecked excersise of power and the only way to improve this situation is to continue to fight for truth tellers, and there is no better example, in my opinion, in our current era than Julian Assange. […] because of Julian’s courage, he has taken such risks, suffered such persecution, in order to give us power we should feel a responsibility to be just as courageous and to stand up and exercise the will to power ourselves to see that justice is done for Julian […] and to avoid the certain injustice of an extradition to the United States.

Julie Hyland from the WSWS website and the Socialist Equality Party who extended their solidarity for Julian Assange and demanded his freedom joined us with a speech. She spoke about the importance of defending Julian Assange who is a political prisoner and a victim of a political frame up. She brought attention to the fact that it is more than a year since Sweden abandoned the case against him and almost three years since the UNWGAD ruled he was arbitrarily detained. A British judge she said only in February this year said he will be arrested on breaking bail conditions if he tried to leave the building. She explained that seeking political asylum to avoid extradition to the US to face espionage charges that carry the death penalty was the reason for breaking those bail conditions. She stressed the fact that despite Julian Assange not been charged with any offence, he had less rights than a convicted murderer. She made parallels between his case and by contrast the kid glove handling of Pinochet. Listen below her five minute speech:

An excellent article full of supporters’ statements of support appeared at the WSWS website here.  We I would like to re-blog a very good point made by one of the longest and most prolific attendant of our solidarity vigil, Clara:

“Julian has been confined to a small box room for years, unable to see friends and families or access the internet. His health has been suffering. His detention is an abuse of human rights and equivalent to torture.

“Even in the dark days of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, where I come from, the government would let people who claimed political asylum in embassies leave the country. And look at the difference in the way Julian is being treated to the way [Chilean dictator Augusto] Pinochet was allowed to stay in a seven-bedroom mansion before being released.”

So grateful to Peter Tatchell who for years has supported this campaign guiding us with his rare commitment to Human Rights, he paid tribute to the many contributions of WikiLeaks in exposing war crimes in support of the people’s right to know what is being done in their name and added: “Just to think, to be holed up in his little room, for all these years with no access to the outside world to take a walk, to do basic fundamental things that we all take for granted, and to still be there despite United Nations declarations of Human Rights, despite been told that his detention is unlawful, unjustified, by the UN Working Group, to think he is still there, brings a shame on Britain and the United States, but it is also a great tribute to the man himself. The determination the perseverance,  the courage to take his stand and to not be bowed by state threats menaces and intimidation. Please join me in giving a huge tumultuous cheer to Julian Assange!”

Once again Craig Murray was among us, among other things he said “… change is coming, I believe that we may well find that  within the not too distant future, finally, for the first time , in my own lifetime, the United Kingdom may have a government which is not totally in hock to the warmongering government of the United States. The solution to Julian’s incarceration lies not in the chance of a change of heart in the neo-cons because the neo-cons would never have, they would have to find their heart before they can change it. The solution to Julian’s incarceration, in the fundamental political shift that we all need to shift in Western society and there good signs, there are good signs, those of us that have seen what Jeremy Corbyn is doing in England, those of us who support the SNP in Scotland, those Americans who saw Bernie Sanders as a transformational campaign during the last election know that the kind of society in which we live with rampant and growing inequality… people are waking up precisely because of access to the kind of alternative narrative  news… that Julian… is giving them. It is the movement which Julian started which is the movement which will free Julian, thank you very much!”

At the microphone, all speakers were introduced by long time activist and WikiLeaks supporter Ciaron O’Reilly (follow him at @CiaronOReilly in twitter) and you can catch more interesting speeches and beautiful music via @JoePublic Live Feed below: Many thanks Joe!

This report only mentions a small part of the contributions that were made by many in the weeks preceding and on the day. A warm hearted thanks to all who contributed and the many people online who shared our action on the web. Similar actions sprang up internationally and we are grateful to our international friends who share this journey with us.  A further thanks to Ruptly for their live feed below:

In solidarity! #FreeAssange #Unity4J

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