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  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

Solidarity with Ecuador & Julian Assange in London

Report and call-out by CiaronO'Reilly



Song in support of Bradley Manning Julian Assange andEd Snowden by RoJ LiGht


CALL OUT

Julian Assange will make a speech at 2pm on Sat 22 Junefrom Balcony of Ecuadorian Embassy, Knightsbridge, London. Come and stand in solidarity!


REPORT

Wednesday June 19th marked a year since WikiLeaks editorJulian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking sanctuary. TheEcuadorian government was immediately threatened in private correspondence fromBritish Foreign Minister Hague with the loss of diplomatic status and a consequentraid. The Ecuadorian government made the private threat public, held their groundand conducted an inquiry into the Assange case. This was the same government thathad previously responded to a U.S. request for a U.S. military base in Ecuador with,"if you let us have an Ecuadoran base in Florida?"

During this period of inquiry, the London Met were deployed in large numbersaround the embassy with 30 police stationed there 24/7. Anti-War, human rights,Latino, Veterans for Peace, Catholic Worker, Occupy & other activists maintained asolidarity vigil at the embassy. Following the completion of the Ecuadorian inquiryand the formal granting of asylum for Julian Assange in August 2012, the Met bobbiesleft to be replaced by 10 members of the Diplomatic Protection section of the Metand a police conference van permanently parked. This 24/7 police presence has beenmaintained for the past year at a cost of 4 million quid. On a significantly smallerbudget, a daily vigil of solidarity activists has been sustained (presently 4-6pm).


Sunday June 16th. 2013 was chosen as a time to mobilise as Ecuador'sForeign Minister Ricardo Patino was to visit Julian Assange before his meeting withBritish Foreign Minister William Hague the following day.

The first sight that greeted activists on exiting the Knighstbridgetube station was Sue & Roland's motor home transformedinto the "Free Tea, Free Assange" takeaway. The caboose was parked next toan exclusive Gran Cafe facing Harrods, serving folks throughout the afternoon.We started setting up banners and were soon joined by the Ecuadoriancommunity. Support grew to about 130+ by about 4pm. Word came through that theforeign minister had been delayed with an ETA of 6.30pm. We were blessed withfine weather and settled in for the duration. Fortunately, John McClean hadbrought his guitar! Songs alternated between an Aussie Kiwi combo and the Ecuadorian community.


In breaks between songs, media interviews were conducted and the Ecuadorian folksled us in chanting. At 6.30 the Ecuadorian foreign minister arrived waving to thecrowd and entered the embassy. Singing resumed and after a while curtains were drawnback and Ricardo Patino and Julian Assange appeared at the window of the embassy.Between us and them were the London Metropolitan Police, mainstream media and asealed U.S. Grand Jury indictment for the WikiLeaks founder.


In other places, Jeremy Hammond & Bradley Manning are already in chains,Edward Snowden is hotly pursued by the same powers. The courage of these people,the WikiLeaks crew and the Ecuadorian people inspires us all. Hopefully suchcourageous and solidarity is contagious. The world literally depends on itstransmission. If that sunny afternoon on a sidewalk in Knightsbride/ London with theEcuadorian community and friends is anything to go by, it's worth the effort.


For pics of the day from BradleyLibero here.

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