Report by Joe Brack EF Press
A sunny Woolwich noon saw 12 JADC members & supporters gather to maintain the Vigil for Julian Assange. Locals engaged positively and Eric handed out flyers to motorists during 3 hours of protest. Interestingly some local people were unaware that Julian was still in Belmarsh and were shocked at his treatment and continued incarceration: ‘We knew Belmarsh was bad, but this is appalling’
A local resident joined the protest after on line research and was welcomed. She was steadfast in her support and vowed to return. Thank you. It’s great to get local knowledge and encouragement in Woolwich itself.
We marched to the gates of Belmarsh to demand Julian’s rights are respected and to release him from false imprisonment and arbitrary arrest. A forlorn guard appeared and mumbled something about private property, a big mistake, as we had Julian there to explain common law and public ownership in great depth. The guard retreated behind the walls. As we packed up to leave the police arrived, 2 in a marked vehicle. Very politely they enquired as to our intentions, which were to go to Trafalgar Square, but told them the Vigil was over, nothing to see here, officer, good day, goodbye.
As we made our way to central london news filtered down that the fascists had confronted the police in Trafalgar Square and was now closed off. Ariya told us Piccadilly Circus instead. A good choice. We arrived shortly after 3pm to see 15 supporters with banners and flyers occupying Eros’ plinth. There was good engagement and opportunity to discuss Julian’s treatment with locals and visitors alike. We didn’t see many fascists, but a few drunken youths who were surprisingly supportive in a jovial way.
There was the constant wailing of sirens from many passing Met Police and Territorial Support vans coming up from Whitehall. Strangely their sirens turned off once clear of Piccadilly Circus. We tested the 5pm curfew as Ariya continued with his speech in support of Julian. I’m learning a lot about finance and the means they use to deny corporate banking to Wikileaks and their supporters from Ariya’s research. As the banshee police vans raced by, they appeared uninterested in ‘hippie peaceniks’ demanding freedom of speech and Julian’s release, breaking s60 exclusion zone curfew.
We decamped to Green Park to hold a Piccadilly Parliament and agreed unanimously that the protest had been worthwhile and the location was excellent if somewhat noisier than a non-facist day out Trafalgar Square.
I believe Belmarsh and central London vigils, protests, actions are good at communicating with the public and holding State actors to shame, in their face, at their place of work and official Ministerial residences. It was a strange, eerie day, especially in Piccadilly Circus where Julian Assange supporters felt safe, peaceful, certain in purpose, while surrounded by hate, violence and effectively Martial law. The power of peace shone through and those whose gross injustice and illegality in persecuting one of our own, Julian Assange, a journalist, a publisher, 8 times Nobel Peace Prize nominee, must be held to account. Without his freedom, we have no freedom.
Joe Brack EF Press
More photos from Central London
More photos from Belmarsh vigil
Photos around Trafalgar Square original site for our vigil which had to be abandoned. (Courtesy Martin Bray)
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