7,000 form human chain in London to protest treatment of Assange
WSWS 9 Oct 22, Around 7,000 people formed a human chain around the Houses of Parliament in the UK Saturday, protesting the British government’s persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The chain ran continuously from Parliament Square along the Palace of Westminster, across Lambeth Bridge, along South Bank to Westminster bridge, then back over the Thames river to Parliament Square—roughly two miles. The event was organised by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign.
Assange is currently held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. The United States government is seeking his extradition under the Espionage Act for exposing the war crimes and human rights abuses of US imperialism and its allies. It has plotted his assassination and levelled charges which carry a life sentence in solitary confinement. The WikiLeaks founder is seeking to overturn orders by the British judiciary and the home secretary approving his extradition. His legal team filed an appeal with the High Court in August.
Stella Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher’s wife, told protestors on Saturday, “Julian is suffering and part of the point of making this human chain was to show that what is happening here is not a legal process, it’s not a legitimate process. It is the instrumentalisation of the law in order to persecute a person, a journalist, in order to keep him in prison indefinitely.
“People around the world are witnessing this atrocity and that is what compels them to come here to show their solidarity, to show that they care about Julian. That they believe in justice, that they see what is happening here is a state that has committed crimes against innocent, that is now committing crimes against a journalist who exposed those crimes they committed.
“Let’s not forget that the US planned to assassinate Julian in the UK, while he was in the embassy and now they’ve put him in the harshest prison in the UK for almost four years.”
WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said proceedings against Assange were “not a legal case,” because of the way the legal system has “bent itself to the demands and requests of the government… it’s appalling.”
He continued, “Julian is a political prisoner. He’s being politically persecuted. The chain around Parliament is sending a message to those inside. They are there to serve the people on the outside. And those are Julian’s supporters. Thousands of them here today, and millions around the world who know that this is a travesty.”
Labour MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell had the brass neck to announce, “As we go into the 18 months up to a general election, this will become a general election issue. Every MP will be asked: do you stand up for journalism, do you stand up for the rights of journalist to report freely, do you stand up for his basic human rights, do you stand up for justice?”……………………..
Reporters from the World Socialist Web Site spoke with some of the protestors……………………………………………
A number of those protesting travelled to London from other countries to do so. Mantas, who traveled from Lithuania that day to support Assange as part of the chain, told our reporters, “Assange told the truth about war crimes, and he fought for human rights and freedom of the press.”
The US and UK governments “want to make a clear and obvious example of Assange so that no-one attempts what he did. The powers that be are trying to impose their own world view, control how people think, to seduce them into thinking nothing can be done or that the world is as it’s supposed to be, when we are actually entering into wholesale madness in the world.”
He said of the war in Ukraine that the weapons manufacturers and businesses “want to promote a new war, and they don’t care about the consequences for the Ukrainian people or the Russian people. I don’t agree with Putin’s actions, but I think there was another option, but Zelensky was encouraged to take a hard line and oppose any deals from the Russian Federation.”
Listing the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks he said, “Where do you start? You can look at the video of an Apache helicopter shooting civilians. The Afghan and Iraq war logs and so on. People should look into it. There’s too much to go into herethat many crimes have been uncovered. People should look into what WikiLeaks has done what its expose and be objective about the matter.”
Assange’s case “shows that if anyone finds out something like this and tries to tell the public then they can be prosecuted for it. So obviously that can threaten everyone.” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/10/08/chai-o08.html?fbclid=IwAR0oU-kS9VcRD34qsOcy2SC2BTcKB2CmeY6IwAoPfyc-MniCzPt3xsgXEu4
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