The Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) will hold a rally in Wellington, as part of the global campaign of the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site to demand freedom for Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been relentlessly persecuted for publishing evidence of war crimes by US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan and revealing the anti-democratic machinations of Washington and its allies throughout the world.
Since being arrested on April 11 and dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had sought asylum, Assange has been imprisoned in appalling conditions. He has been subjected to what a UN rapporteur described as “psychological torture.” The Trump administration is collaborating with the British government to secure his extradition to the United States, where he will be subjected to a show trial on espionage charges which carry a sentence of 175 years in prison.
The persecution of Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who has been re-imprisoned in the US for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks, is the spearhead of efforts by the ruling class internationally to illegalise journalism and the exposure of government criminality. This includes the recent raids by Australian Federal Police on journalists who revealed plans for mass spying on the population and evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan.
In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party-NZ First-Greens coalition government, which is strengthening the military alliance with the United States, has refused to defend Assange. Ardern has remained silent on Australia’s abandonment of Assange and the police raids against journalists. Her government has imposed measures aimed at censoring the internet and suppressing opposition from the working class.
Assange and Manning are prisoners in a global class war. They are being persecuted to establish a precedent for the suppression of growing opposition among workers, students and young people to war, austerity and the turn to police-state measures by governments in every country.
Millions of ordinary people rightly view Assange and Manning as heroes, who are being attacked for exposing the truth. This support must be mobilised in a mass, international campaign. We appeal to all those who oppose the persecution of Assange and Manning and who defend democratic rights: Don’t stand on the sidelines! The fight to free these courageous individuals is a critical battleground in the defence of free speech, truth, and the fight against exploitation, dictatorship and war, the basic evils of the world capitalist system.
The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) calls for the broadest support and promotion of our rally in Wellington. Contact us to become involved.
Cuba Street and Left Bank intersection
Sunday July 14 at 2:30pm