Protests in Marylebone for Paddington-based Julian Assange
Campaigners take their fight to the Swedish Embassy in support of Wikileaks founder who has been staying in the Frontline Club
CAMPAIGNERS protesting against the arrest of Julian Assange descended on Marylebone on Monday days after it was revealed he had been hiding in Paddington.
Protesters wore masks of Mr Assange’s face as they rallied outside the Swedish embassy on Montagu Place.
The Wikileaks founder had spent much of the past few months in hiding at the Frontline journalism club prior to his arrest last week for questioning related to accusations of rape and sexual molestation.
Vaughan Smith, founder of the club, said: “It was his main base over the past four or five months.
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“He first came to us in July when he wanted a venue to hold a press conference.
“We had the possibility to ensure there was a debate around this matter of what he was doing and we held three events where the public and journalists could ask questions. We are a venue that likes to have interesting people come to us.”
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The club founder has personally offered an address for Mr Assange’s bail application which was accepted by City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The application was then appealed by the prosecution leaving Mr Assange in custody until a High Court hearing decides on the appeal today (Thursday).
“In the face of a concerted attempt to shut him down and after a decade since 9/11 that has been characterised by manipulation of the media by the authorities, the information released by Wikileaks is a refreshing glimpse into an increasingly opaque world,” he said.
“I am suspicious of the personal charges that have been made against Mr Assange and hope that this will be properly resolved by the courts.”
The Wikileaks founder was last week arrested in London under a European Arrest Warrant on accusation of committing serious crimes against two women in August in Sweden.
Sharon Ward, who is behind the London-based Justice for Assange campaign, organised Monday’s protest outside the Swedish embassy.
She said: “I think it’s a stalling tactic while the US looks for a way to charge him.
“We believe there’s a freedom of speech issue and these so-called allegations are absurd.
“The Swedish prosecutor at the time said there was no evidence and immediately dropped the case. It wasn’t until some weeks later when Wikileaks started releasing their stuff that it was brought up again.
“It just seems very bizarre that this case has suddenly come alive again.
“I think if you look quite closely behind the allegations, they are utterly ridiculous.
“I don’t think he will get a fair trial – it’s just a charade.
“I think it’s politically motivated. It’s quite well documented that the US is trying to drum up charges against him.”