WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange’s trial at Woolwich Crown Court began yesterday morning, where the Tory government is seeking to extradite him to the US to face 18 charges for ‘encouraging, receiving and publishing classified documents linked to national defence’. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in jail.
Outside the court, two coachloads of over 100 Yellow Vests had travelled across the Channel from France to join the mass demonstration demanding that Assange is immediately released.
He has spent the last ten months languishing in the high security prison of Belmarsh in south London.
Hundreds of Assange supporters demonstrated outside the court.
From Paris, Fabien Biernat told News Line: ‘We are here for the defence of freedom.
‘All Julian Assange did was to defend poor people and make them alert to the crimes of the US war on Iraq.
‘How can he be in jail for telling the truth.
‘In France we have a problem with our government and we have had many battles with the police.
‘Yellow Vests will also be sending a delegation to Chile to show our support for their struggle against the government.’
Ally Robinson had travelled down from Barnsley with her son, Tom, and said: ‘It’s disgusting the way that Julian Assange has been incarcerated in Belmarsh, also the way in which he was dragged out of the embassy by police.
‘Tom is training to be a journalist and wants to stand up for the truth.’
Flying in from California, Kevin Matlock said: ‘I’m here after hearing that the US is pushing for the extradition of a person who is not a US citizen and has not committed any crime in the US.
‘He is only accused of publishing the truth and yet the US wants to imprison him.
‘I think it would be great if Bernie Sanders got the Democratic nomination but it will never happen because they will steal it from him.’
Also on the demonstration outside the court, Joe Passarelli said: ‘It is no understatement to say journalism is on trial.
‘This extradition would set a precedent by allowing any state to extradite any journalist for revealing truthful information.’
Assange’s WikiLeaks exposed imperialist war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, releasing tens of thousands of documents including the video entitled Collateral Murder which shows a US helicopter gunship open firing on civilians.