UK residents demand release of Julian Assange, support international vigils

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) and World Socialist Web Site are calling for a maximum mobilisation in support of tonight’s vigil outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London that is demanding freedom for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

The vigil is part of events being held internationally on June 19 to demand Assange’s freedom. The SEP demands the Conservative government of Theresa May end its cruel persecution of Assange, drop the bail-related issues against him and allow him to leave the embassy and, if he chooses, the UK, without fear of arrest.

The event follows the successful demonstration held June 17 in Sydney’s Town Hall Square, which marked a major step forward in the fight for Assange’s unconditional release. The rally, at which hundreds of people attended, demanded that the Australian government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull secure the release of Assange from his involuntary confinement in London and his safe return to Australia.

Leading up to the vigil, the Socialist Equality Party in Britain has been contacted with messages of support for Assange. A number of people attending last Thursday’s Silent March in memory of those who died in the Grenfell Tower also spoke out in support of Assange.

Speaking to WSWS reporters at Saturday’s demonstration outside Downing Street to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, Graham, who attended, spoke about his opposition to the years-long detention of Assange by the ruling elite and his support for the campaign to free him.

“From the start it’s suspicious,” he said. “The allegations made against him had already been dropped in Sweden. Obviously, he’s a wanted man. He’s on the right side of history. Obviously, him being stuck in the embassy for six years is detrimental to his health. I’m pretty sure there’ve been human rights problems with what’s happened to him. The main focus is getting him out of there without having him deported to America.

“What WikiLeaks has done is show the people up who rule us for what they are, which is important. His information has moved us forward because without knowing what you’re really fighting, how do you fight it? We have to fight to stop him being extradited. I plan to come to the vigil in London this Tuesday.”

Jude, a reader of the World Socialist Web Site, said, “Julian Assange has been demonised by the most reactionary forces on this planet because he believed the public had a right to know about the criminal activities of our governments. Through WikiLeaks, he revealed the war crimes carried out against journalists and civilians in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan by the US and Western governments.

“The mainstream media, especially the Guardian, which published WikiLeaks documents in 2010, gaining a liberal-left kudos and readership in the process, now shamefully attacks Assange as it cosies up to the Western warmongers. The Guardian and their ilk are not journalists, they are despicable charlatans and opportunists.

“As the ruling bourgeoisie twists and turns this way and that under the powerful social forces released by capitalism in crisis, it further loses credibility and legitimacy, and control of the narrative. In a desperate attempt to regain control, it censors and denigrates the truth tellers who threaten these criminals and their control of public opinion. Free Julian Assange now!”

Phil, a student and WSWS reader who lives in Manchester, said, “In this age of information few things are more important than its freedom of access. Those who seek to deny us access to information pave the way for the commission of egregious crimes against humanity and enable our rapid slide into despotism.

“Julian Assange has risked his life to expose the machinations and crimes perpetrated by societal elites in our democratic name. His courageous and selfless acts now demand we support him in securing his freedom.”

Janaka, a WSWS reader from Manchester, said, “I would like to express my solidarity with the Socialist Equality Party’s effort to mobilize the working class to free Julian Assange after being held for more than five years in the city of London. It demonstrates the anti-democratic character of the UK government and its international partners. They are spending millions of taxpayers’ money to guard the Ecuador embassy 24/7 to make sure they should be able to arrest Julian Assange in case he comes out of the embassy.

“In my opinion, today anyone who is concerned about or values democratic rights should defend Julian Assange and should support the SEP’s effort to free him. Freedom for Julian Assange!”

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Attend the vigil at the Ecuador Embassy in London! Freedom for Julian Assange!

Tuesday, June 19, 6-8 p.m.
3 Hans Crescent
London, SW1X 0LN
(nearest Tube station: Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line)

For further details of the vigil: www.facebook.com/events/584926061906910/