People’s movements across the world demand freedom for Julian Assange

In cities across the world, activists from people’s movements demand that journalist Julian Assange be freed and his extradition be blocked

February 25, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Militants from Levante Popular da Juventude. Photo: Pablo Vergara

On the streets of Brasilia and Accra, Johannesburg and New York City, people’s movements and organizations demanded on February 25 that publisher and political prisoner Julian Assange be released immediately. The call for mobilizations was issued by the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA) which launched a permanent campaign this month to call for Assange’s immediate release and the rejection of his extradition request.

In a press statement released by the IPA, the organization highlighted that “As imperialist threats and warmongering have continued and the world is in a moment of increased tensions, it is now more important than ever to insist on truth telling.”

In Brazil, mobilizations calling for freedom for Assange were organized outside the UK and US consulates in six cities: São Paulo, Brasília, Recife, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, and Rio de Janeiro. The actions were organized by people’s movements and trade unions such as the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), Levante Popular da Juventude, the World March of Women, the Workers’ Party (PT), Movement Against Dams, and others.

In South Africa, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) picketed outside the US Consulate in Johannesburg, and handed over a memorandum demanding the immediate release of Assange.

Members of the Socialist Movement of Ghana organized a placard parade in Ghana’s capital, Accra, raising slogans such as: “It’s our right to be informed” “Viva press freedom” “The criminals are not in the media!”.

In New York City, a group of progressive organizations, including the International Peoples’ Assembly, Peoples Dispatch, Progressive International and others came together to organize the New York City edition of the Belmarsh Tribunal. The event brought together legal experts, UN representatives, whistleblowers, journalists, and many others who discussed the vast amount of crimes committed during US’ “War on Terror”, the struggle for justice for its victims, to demand the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and the immediate release of Julian Assange.

The campaign to free Julian Assange

Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh Prison since 2019, while the United States government has been waging a legal battle to fight for his extradition. US prosecutors indicted the co-founder of Wikileaks one month after his imprisonment in Belmarsh on 17 charges under the Espionage Act, which together carry a total maximum sentence of 175 years. This was the first time the US has prosecuted a publisher for the act of publishing under the Espionage Act.

As the IPA pointed out, Assange’s only crime is revealing the “uncomfortable truths that the United States would rather have covered up: the crimes against humanity, the civilian death tolls, the wrongful imprisonment and torture of hundreds of innocent people, all in the context of its pursuit of the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq.

João Pedro Stedile of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement, a member organization of the IPA, declared: “The US empire and its NATO invaded Libya, they invaded Afghanistan, they invaded Syria, they invaded Iraq…Now the Americans have asked for Assange to be incarcerated and extradited [to the US] where he would face up to 175 years in prison because he revealed the atrocities of the Army. The only people who should be going to prison are those responsible for the massacres in Iraq and in other countries. This is why we must show our indignation, to protest and denounce this imperialist attitude of the Americans who think they are owners of the world and do not respect decisions of courts nor the United Nations.”

Later in the day, actions were set to take place in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, the Colombian capital, Bogotá, and Mexico City, Mexico.

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