Julian Assange spoke in public on Sunday for the first time in months. He addressed a large crowd of supporters from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum.
Assange called on the U.S. to end its “witch hunt” against Wikileaks. He also said that Obama needs to “do the right thing” and release Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier charged with leaking classified information to Wikileaks.
“There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisation, be it Wikileaks or the New York Times,” he said. “The U.S. war on whistleblowers must end.”
Assange said the U.S. is at a crossroads.
“Will it return to and re-affirm the revolutionary values it was founded on? Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark.”
He also addressed the recent incarceration of Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot.
“There is unity in the oppression, there must be absolute unity and determination in the response,” he said.
Assange thanked Ecuador for granting him asylum. He is currently facing extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.
He also thanked the massive crowd of supporters who showed up to hear his speech.
“Thank you for your resolve, for your generosity of spirit,” he said. “If the UK did not throw away the terms of the Vienna convention it was because the world was watching and the world was watching because you were watching.”
Masked supporters of Julian Assange outside the Embassy of Ecuador in Knightsbridge, central London, as the diplomatic row between the UK and Ecuador over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange deepened after the Foreign Office said the Government would seek to extradite him even if he is granted political asylum by the South American nation. The Ecuadorian authorities have accused the Government of threatening to enter its embassy in London to seize Mr Assange, who faces sexual assault charges in Sweden. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA