News Release

Protests in London and D.C. Against Prosecution of WikiLeaks Founder


Supporters of WikiLeaks are aiming to form a human chain around the British parliament on Saturday to defend the group’s publisher, Julian Assange, from being extradited to the U.S. where he faces 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act.

There are also protests across the U.S. including Washington, D.C. in front of the Department of Justice organized by Assange Defense, a coalition that includes Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Demand Progress, the Courage Foundation and Reporters Without Borders. Board members of the coalition include Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg who has called the prosecution of Assange the “nuclear option” against the First Amendment.

JOHN PILGER, [in London]
Pilger is a journalist and film-maker whose books and documentaries have won numerous awards including an Emmy and a British Academy Award.

Like Ellsberg, he argues that the persecution of Assange has corroded the possibilities for a functioning free press on a host of issues that will only find redress with direct action by the public.

He said today: “More and more people understand that so much about their democracies is a facade for an extremism that feeds off war and destroys livelihoods and freedom. The shocking treatment of Julian Assange is a glimpse behind the facade. This weekend, join the thousands who will surround the British parliament to demand his freedom — and ours.”

CHIP GIBBONS, [in D.C.], @ChipGibbons89
Policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent, Gibbons has a recent piece in Jacobin examining the allegations that the company UC Global was co-opted by the CIA resulting in violations of civil liberties, human rights, and international law.

Also in D.C., speakers will include Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. Video streams are here and here.

mobile billboard protesting U.S. government attacks on Assange has for months been a regular feature in D.C.

The coalition states: “Fighting extradition to the United States, Assange has been imprisoned in the UK since his arrest in 2019, when the Trump administration levied 18 counts which would criminalize each step of the reporting process, including soliciting, receiving, possessing, and publishing classified information. Major news outlets and press freedom groups across the board have condemned the indictment as a landmark threat to the First Amendment’s freedom of the press.”

“The Biden DOJ could end this travesty at once,” said Nathan Fuller, director of the Assange Defense Committee. “Administration officials have given speech after speech touting the principles of a free press abroad and the importance of journalism to a healthy democracy. It’s time they practice what they preach and drop these charges immediately.”