Two thousand protesters massed outside the Ecuadorean embassy in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Homemade placards spelt out the international legal conventions being trodden on by the British, US, and Swedish governments.
Two hundred police officers surrounded the embassy, with large numbers in reserve parked in side streets. Police helicopters hovered overhead.
World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to Samanta, a student from Sri Lanka, who said, “I am here to support Julian Assange because of what he has done for the greater good, for everyone else, for this planet. He has changed the nature of media in general. He’s a huge advocate of citizen journalism.
balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy
“News companies and news corporations tell lies—like Fox News, CNN, BBC or Sky News. They have one or two owners like Murdoch and a handful of other people and states like the British state, or the American state. They are completely biased.
“You can see what’s happening in Syria today. We are being told that there are rebels, on the BBC for example, that are under attack by the Assad regime. But never once have the rebels attacked the Assad regime, according to the BBC.
“It is clear who is telling the truth here. And that’s the truth when it comes to the economy, when it comes to unemployment, when it comes to who has got the money, where the money is going around the planet. Apparently there is sixty billion US dollars missing in offshore accounts. We don’t hear about that, but we hear about the guy that’s claimed a few extra benefits. Julian Assange is very different, the opposite to all that.”
Ali, an Afghan worker, explained, “I’m here to support Julian Assange because he stands for freedom, and for people who haven't got any voice. He reveals the crimes being done in the name of ‘democracy’: in Afghanistan, the drone attacks in Pakistan, the bombings in Iraq, and also the crisis in Europe and America.
“For me Assange is a hero. He is not scared, and he is still fighting for freedom and justice. What the British police are doing is the Americans’ dirty work, what they want them to do. They want him to disappear forever, to put him in prison somewhere. It's not only the UK. You have America and other allies that are trying to get a hold of this man. They want to show everyone that you either surrender, or we keep you shut up.
“I believe the whole scenario about democracy or WMD’s is all rubbish, American-made scenarios to justify invading other countries. And I think Julian Assange is standing up against America. It does not matter who stands up in the White House, either a black man or a white man. I used to be a big fan of Barack Obama. I thought he stood up against the Republicans, but he is worse than George W. Bush! He said he would close down Guantanomo Bay on 1st of January, 2008. Now, in 2012, he says there's no way he can close it down. So he's another liar.”
A young female student from Britain who wished to remain anonymous said, “Obviously this case is incredibly difficult, because if he really did what he's accused of then of course he should stand trial. If he didn't, and it's just a way of getting him into the US then that is disgusting. The state should not be using such a serious charge of rape in order to suppress freedom of speech. I think it's brilliant that Ecuador kept him safe from immediate danger.”