Report/ Photos/ Vid – Solidarity with Ecuador & Julian Assange in London by Ciaron O’Reilly

​Great work from Ciaron…​

Report/ Photos/ Vid – Solidarity with Ecuador & Julian

Assange in London

by Ciaron O’Reilly

Photos & Short vids (thanx to Bradleylibero)

Wed June 19th will mark a year since WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange entered the

Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking sanctuary. The Ecuadorian government

was immediately threatened in private correspondence from British Foreign Minister

Hague with the loss of diplomatic status and a consequent raid. The Ecuadorian

government made the private threat public, held their ground and conducted an inquiry

into the Assange case. This was the same government that had 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 numbers around

the embassy with 30 police stationed there 24/7. Anti-War, human rights, Latino,

Veterans for Peace, Catholic Worker, Occupy & other activists maintained a solidarity

vigil at the embassy. Following the completion of the Ecuadorian inquiry and the formal

granting of asylum for Julian Assange in August 2012, the Met bobbies left to be

replaced by 10 members of the Diplomatic Protection section of the Met and a police

conference van permanently parked. This 24/7 police presence has been maintained

for the past year at a cost of 4 million quid. On a significantly smaller budget, 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’s Foreign

Minister Ricardo Patino was to visit Julian Assange before his meeting with British

Foreign Minister William Hague the following day.

The first sight that greeted activists on exiting the Knighstbridge tube

station was Sue & Roland’s motor home transformed into

the "Free Tea, Free Assange" takeaway. The caboose was parked next to an

exclusive Gran Cafe facing Harrods, serving folks throughout the afternoon. We

started setting up banners and were soon joined by the Ecuadorian community.

Support grew to about 130+ by about 4pm. Word came through that the foreign

minister had been delayed with an ETA of 6.30pm. We were blessed with fine

weather and settled in for the duration. Fortunately, John McClean had brought

his guitar! Songs alternated between an Aussie Kiwi combo

and the Ecuadorian community .

In breaks between songs, media interviews were conducted and the Ecuadorian

folks led us in chanting. At 6.30 the Ecuadorian foreign minister arrived waving to

the crowd and entered the embassy. Singing resumed and after a while curtains were

drawn back 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 a sealed 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 such courageous

and solidarity is contagious. The world literally depends on its transmission. If that

sunny afternoon on a sidewalk in Knightsbride/ London with the Ecuadorian

community and friends is anything to go by, it’s worth the effort.

Ciaron O’Reilly

"The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets."
Phil Berrigan

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