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Armed Police Called to Australian Embassy in London as Australian Protesters Occupy Foyer Demanding

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday December 14, 2010 10:01author by Australians for the Immediate Release of Julian Assange Report this post to the editors

................the Release of Julian Assange

On Monday 13th December at 5 pm, concerned Australian academics, artists, activists and expats occupied the foyer of the Australian Embassy on The Strand, London. They refused instruction by embassy security to vacate the building reading aloud a letter of demands addressed to the Australian High Commissioner.

The letter calls for the Embassy to be proactive in securing the immediate release from custody of fellow Australian citizen and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange. The letter has been signed by celebrated journalist John Pilger, Australian born human rights activist Peter Tatchell, veteran Australian anti-war activist Ciaron O'Reilly and a growing number of British based Australians outraged with the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder. Assange is presently held in London's Wandsworth Prison having been denied bail at an intial hearing at Westminister Court last week. Mr. Assange's next bail appearance, which will take place on Tuesday 14th December.

Armed members of the Metropolitan Police’s Diplomatic Protection Unit were first to arrive on the scene, followed by three vans of riot police deployed in the vicinity for unrelated student protests and finally a more relaxed member of the local Charring Cross police station arrived on foot Following the exit of the five protestors, the closure of the embassy and the departure of the police the protestors commenced a vigil outside the embassy

The front steps of the embassy were employed as a makeshift stage as the vigil was addressed by Australian academics Proffesor Michael Dutton, university lecturer Saul Newman, Australian activist Ciaron O'Reilly and entertained by Australian band "Lovers Electric".

A makeshift shrine was constructed in front of the embassy consisting of candles, images of civilian victims of the war on Afghanistan and framed photographs of Julian Assange presently jailed at London's Wandsworth Prison, defendant in the initial U.S. military case against WikiLeaks Corporal Manning presently jailed at a U.S. marine base at Quantico, Virginia, USA and London resident Shaker Aamer who enters his eight year of detention in Guantanamo Bay

"Australians for the Immediate Release of Julian Assange" believes that the refusal to grant bail to Mr. Assange is unjust and unwarranted'. 'They argue that this denial of bail and present imprisonment of the WikiLeaks founder are politically driven by forces with which the Australian government are in connivance. They believe the actions of the Australian government and embassy in relation to Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, amount to a dereliction of duty. They are also demanding that the Australian government immediately cease co-operation in the persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

A spokesperson for the group, veteran Australain anti-war activist Ciaron O'Reilly, stated:

"Many of us share Julian's background of being raised in the authoritarian state of Queensland where civil liberties were denied as matter of course. This formative experience shaped Julian in terms of his passion for free speech as it shaped us before him. Others of us are dismayed that, like Vietnam and Iraq, the present Australian government has followed the United States into another immoral, illegal and unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Julian's work with WikiLeaks has been courageous and revelatory. He's in that jail for us and we're out on the streets for him! We need to free him and bring this war and invasion of Afghanistan to an end!"

ENDS
For more info contact:
Ciaron O'Reilly Mobile 079 392 905 76
(outside the UK) +44 79 392 905 76

Note to editor:

- Photographs available of the incident

- Video footage of the incident available

* Present signatories of the (attached) Letter to the High Commisioner
Letter from "Australians for the Immediate Release of Julian Assange" to the Australian High Commissioner attached to this press release.

John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia) http://www.johnpilger.com/
Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
http://www.petertatchell.net/
Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths University of London.
Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) Concerned Citizen.
Ciaron O'Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) Musician "Lovers Electric".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), Musician "Lovers Electric".
Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) Classical Musician.
David Warburton (from Adelaide, Australia), Coffee Brewster
Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London.
Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
http://www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org/
Olivia Ball (from Melbourne, Australia) Author
Eric Snowball (from Sydney, Australia) Social Worker.
Errol O'Neill (from Brisbane, Australia) Actor.
Mary Kelly (from Brisbane,Australia) Trade Unionist.
Dan O'Neill (from Brisbane, Australia) Scholar.
Dr Linnell Secomb (from Melbourne, Australia) Head of Department of Social, Political and Cultural Studies, University of Greenwich
Errin Collins, (from Lithgow, Australia) Occupational Therapist
Rik Garfit (from Sydney, Australia), Sound Engineer.
Nick Gill (from Perth, Australia) Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol

author by Letterpublication date Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

13 December 2010

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Australia House
Strand,
London WC2B 4LA

Dear Mr Dauth,

We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey to our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange’s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.

Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.

We welcome the Government’s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange’s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him “all appropriate consular assistance.”

We learn from an Australian Government website[1] that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange “is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.” UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange’s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.

May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange “has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”[2] and to do so “without interference by public authority.”[3]

Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be “presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law” and to be given a fair trial.[4]

As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm[5] to an Australian citizen outside Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.[6]

In light of the above, we, the undersigned:

1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange’s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.

2. Call on the Gillard Government robustly to defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.

3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.

4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.

We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.

Sincerely, your compatriots,

John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia) http://www.johnpilger.com/
Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
http://www.petertatchell.net/
Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths University of London.
Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) Concerned Citizen.
Ciaron O'Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) Musician "Lovers Electric".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), Musician "Lovers Electric".
Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) Classical Musician.
David Warburton (from Adelaide, Australia), Coffee Brewster
Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London.
Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
http://www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org/
Olivia Ball (from Melbourne, Australia) Author
Eric Snowball (from Sydney, Australia) Social Worker.
Errol O'Neill (from Brisbane, Australia) Actor.
Mary Kelly (from Brisbane,Australia) Trade Unionist.
Dan O'Neill (from Brisbane, Australia) Scholar.
Dr Linnell Secomb (from Melbourne, Australia) Head of Department of Social, Political and Cultural Studies, University of Greenwich
Errin Collins, (from Lithgow, Australia) Occupational Therapist
Rik Garfit (from Sydney, Australia), Sound Engineer.
Nick Gill (from Perth, Australia) Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol

[1] ‘Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas’ (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)

[2] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.

[3] ECHR, Art. 10(1)

[4] ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere

[5] Including “harm to a person’s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;” and conduct that “endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person’s life” (s146)

[6] See http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html

author by redjade - semi-Anonymous behind the Iron Curtainpublication date Tue Dec 14, 2010 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

 

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author by redjadepublication date Tue Dec 14, 2010 17:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

 

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author by redjadepublication date Tue Dec 14, 2010 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

 

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author by by london indy rikkipublication date Thu Dec 16, 2010 04:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.........another report (by London Indy Rikki) of the action at the australain embassy

............good photos of shrine to the victims of the war on Afghanistan
Anti-War prisoners in custody (who may never get out!)

- Julian Assange (Wandsworth Priosn, London, England)

- Bradley Manning (Military Detention, Quantaco, Virginia USA)
http://www.bradleymanning.org/

- Shaker Aamer (Guantanamo Bay, Twilight Zone)
www.cageprisoners.org

LINK-

Related Link: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/6719
 
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