Greenwich and Lewisham Assange Campaign: Why opposing the Extradition of Julian Assange matters to the UK

On Friday the 27th of September 2019 the Greenwich and Lewisham Assange Campaign (GLAC) organised a public meeting at the Greenwich Forum. It was well attended and a monthly solidarity vigil will be established at Belmarsh Prison in support of Julian Assange as a result. Please visit their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pg/SELAssangeDefence/posts/ Here follows a report from the event by one of its members.

Summary of meeting called by Greenwich and Lewisham Assange Committee, 27th September 2019

GLAC held a very successful public meeting, launching the campaign in the area. The GLAC is formed of activists who see the defence of Julian Assange and the work of Wikileaks as part of a broader fight for peace and social justice.

The meeting attracted 42 people, over half from the local area, and heard speakers discussing the case of Julian Assange and why it matters to us in the UK. The media handling of the Assange case was dissected by Patrick Henningsen, a US journalist and co-founder of the website 21st century wire . He pointed up the hypocrisy of Jeremy Hunt and Lord Ahmed who pedal the notion of media freedom while incarcerating Assange for publishing material of public interest.

Sheila Coombes, of Frome Stop the War, showed how important publications by Wikileaks are in countering a narrative for war which, in Iraq, Libya and Syria have lead to thousands of deaths. The script of her speech is available here:

Emmy Butlin, co-ordinator of the Julian Assange Defence Committee said that Julian “is one of us”, that Assange’s case is pivotal in the fight to defend the freedom of the press and democratic rights of all people across the world.

Ciaron O’Reilly who camped out outside the Ecuadorian Embassy from March 2018 for a year long vigil outside the Ecuadorean Embassy and, since Assange’s arrest, has been constantly on vigil outside Belmarsh, spoke of his friendship with Assange and reminded us all of the concerns for Julian as an individual.

Speakers: Patrick Henningshen, Sheila Coombes, Emmy Butlin with GLAC Organiser Helen Mercer

The talk was preceded by a youtube clip of Jenny Robinson, Assange’s lawyer explaining that the work of Wikileaks “is important public interest reporting that must be protected”. There was no time to see a further clip of the current editor of Wikileaks discussing his current conditions and the difficulties Assange faces in fighting his extradition case.

Lively discussion ensued. Thanks to all who attended and a special thanks to our speakers.

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