Global vigils on June 19th: the movement grows to Free Assange
To mark six years since Julian Assange sought political asylum in the London Ecuadorean Embassy and to demand his immediate freedom and protection from extradition to the United States, vigils and protests occurred in eight countries and 20 cities.
The first, global vigil to be called for June 19th, was part of the ongoing vigil maintained outside the London Ecuadorean Embassy itself. On May 1st, a call-out was put out via the WISE UP Action Website for a J19 vigil outside the London Ecuadorean Embassy. The call was made by the small group of activists who have maintained the ongoing vigil in London.
The movement started to spread, first to Dublin, then this website (Class-Conscious) called a Melbourne action and simultaneously people began organising on the “Free Julian Assange at UK and US Embassies Worldwide” Facebook page started by activist Cynthia Price in L.A. The Socialist Equality Party (and ICFI), who have campaigned strenuously for Julian Assange for many years via the World Socialist Website, also massively boosted the global campaign via the many articles they publish and in calling protests in Sydney, Columbo and Tamil Nadu.
Many of the groups and individuals from the “pseudo-left” political parties and mainstream media who originally supported Assange subsequently abandoned him after he was smeared by the false Swedish rape allegations. Even now, after this investigation has been dropped without any charges laid, these groups and individuals continue to turn their back on Assange, even as the threat of his extradition to the U.S. and health problems grows by the day. John Pilger, in his speech in Sydney on June 17th labelled these journalists “Vichy journalists” who collaborate with fascists and war mongers to silence the truth. Pilger described the “eerie silence” around Assange in this article. The WSWS explains why so many so-called leftists have turned on Assange as they veer to the right and align themselves with the U.S. State Department and war machine in this article.
The June 17th-19th protests have made a big impact on shattering this silence and countering the suffocation of the solidarity campaign for Julian Assange by these hostile forces. This gives these protests an objective significance that goes beyond their relatively small size. In addition, individual activists, independent journalists, organisations such as the Socialist Equality Party and Courage Foundation all made important links over the last few months to build these protests. This is the basis on which a much larger campaign to Free Assange can and will be built.
This is what is required for the campaign to free Julian Assange, given the conspiracy he faces from the U.K., Australian, British and now Ecuadorean Government to have him railroaded into a U.S. prison. This conspiracy can only be overcome by an ongoing and massive mobilisation of the international working class. Julian Assange’s freedom and rights are inseparable from the broader struggle against war, against censorship and in defence of democratic rights. Julian’s Assange’s fight is the fight of the working class.
We must all be ready to mobilise quickly if Assange’s situation changes for the worse in the coming period. and in the meantime work constantly to build the international campaign to Free Assange!
MEDIA COVERAGE, PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF PROTESTS AND VIGILS
SLIDESHOW COMPILATION FROM AROUND THE WORLD
COVERAGE FROM THE WORLD SOCIALIST WEBSITE OF VIGILS
Australian Vigils held in defence of Julian Assange
Protesters demand release of Julian Assange at US Vigils
New Zealand rally demands freedom for Julian Assange
Pickets in Sri Lanka and India demand freedom for Julian Assange
SOME IMPORTANT SPEECHES
John Pilger Speaking in Sydney June 17th
Julie Hyland from the Socialist Equality Party Britain speaking in London June 19th
James Cogan from the Socialist Equality Party Speaking in Melbourne June 19th