The 92nd protest in support of Julian Assange in Brussels took place on Monday 4 January
One hundred protestors stood in front of the British Embassy in Brussels, responding to the Free Assange Committee’s call in Belgium. We were encouraged because the British court had just refused Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States. But the journalists and activists present understood that it was not necessarily a happy ending.
First of all, because Julian Assange remains in prison (the next day, the USA appealed the judgement, and the day after, the British court refused to release Assange).
Secondly, because while refusing extradition, the British court admitted the charges under the “espionage” framework. This is a serious threat to press freedom, since it will therefore always be possible to prosecute under this type of accusation journalists who are only doing their job.
This was noted by those who took the floor, calling for people to remain mobilised for Assange’s defence:
“It is clear that today we had a victory, that’s clear. But — there are buts. The victory is that a judgement refuses the extradition of Julian Assange, and we see this as a way to save his life, but he is not free. (…) The judgement in reality is scandalous. It only deals with the mental health of Julian Assange. There is no longer the aspect of this case as a political trial, there is no longer the aspect of it being a flagrant attempt to attack the freedoms of journalists and whistleblowers. None of that was retained by the judge. The general combat for the right to inform, the right to press freedom, the rights of whistleblowers to be protected, that is not at all won.”
“More than ever we have to stay vigilant, and militant (…) One part of the victory is thanks to the mobilisation that we could have in this country to support Julian Assange.”
During the action, we chanted “Liberté pour Assange!” (Freedom for Assange). Many demonstrators came with signs which read ‘Stop Torture, Free Assange’, ‘Hands Off Assange’ and ‘Free Assange, No US Extradition’.
There were the long-time activists of the Free Assange Committee Belgium, who have been on the streets every Monday since Assange’s arrest in April 2019. But also representatives of the media, and elected MP of Ecolo and the PTB.
New people join us regularly, aware of what is at stake for the freedom of expression, and conscious of the need to defend a man that war criminals are trying to kill for having exposed their crimes.
DiEMers attend the Free Assange Committee’s protests every Monday
The next action will be on 11 January — join us!
Photo Source: volunteers at the protest.
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