WikiLeaks founder spends comfortable night at Ecuadorean embassy in London as protesters plan show of solidarity
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spent a comfortable night in the Ecuadorean embassy in London after the South American country’s decision to offer him asylum, and is said to be “doing all right”, according to a diplomatic source.
More than a dozen Metropolitan police officers stood guard outside the redbrick Knightsbridge mansion block on Friday morning, accompanied by a handful of his supporters who are understood to be planning a show of solidarity and direct action tonight in protest over the British government’s treatment of Assange.
A strong international media presence remained behind barriers outside, where gutters were full of beer cans and coffee cups.
One supporter, Tristan Woodwards, said he had spent the night camped out opposite the embassy to show sympathy. “I’m here to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and to show my disgust at the British government’s threat to a sovereign nation’s embassy,” he said. “It’s completely wrong. People talk about the [assault] allegations, but [the UK government's reaction] seems over the top for someone who’s supposed to have committed a crime.”
Another supporter, Tammy Samede, said she had decided to keep watch on the embassy to make sure the government acted in accordance with international law. “To be honest, I’m not a fan of the British government for a lot reasons,” she said. “But they’re using the need to question him to get him out of here and get him to Sweden, who will extradite him to the US, who will probably imprison him forever or execute him.”
Samede said that while the women who had made the assault allegations had every right to due process, the case should be dealt with “in the proper manner and not in the political manner”. She said Assange had offered to answer questions by videolink, but British authorities seemed unwilling to let him.
Asked how long she would keep vigil, she said: “It’s not the most comfortable place, but standing up for what’s right is never comfortable. That’s why [Assange] is stuck in a room without a window in the embassy.”