‘Unions must strike to release Assange!’ Protesters rally outside the Old Bailey

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Masses of protesters outside the Old Bailey on Monday demanding 'Free Assange'

‘THE TRADE unions should organise mass demonstrations and call a general strike,’ Julian Assange Defence Committee member Joe Brack told News Line yesterday.

He was speaking outside the Old Bailey on the second day of the WikiLeaks journalist’s extradition hearing.

Brack said: ‘For the next three to four weeks we are deciding the future of our democracy in the UK.

‘Do we want an open and transparent government scrutinised by a free press – or what we have now?

‘The US prosecution are panicking, having seen the defence submissions on the espionage allegation and have turned to conspiracy allegations which we all know is a scattergun approach which more often involves more than one defendant.

‘And conspiracy is usually a racketeering charge against a whole criminal organisation.

‘It is being used now to prosecute journalists.

‘Julian is backed by the NUJ, Unite and Aslef. These unions should take action on the street.

‘They should organise mass national demonstrations and call a general strike.

‘Without a general strike we won’t get rid of Johnson and the Tory government.’

Fellow defence committee member Jamie told News Line: ‘We had a good turnout yesterday.

‘We’re here to support Julian. This is a show trial. It’s an abuse of due process and all his rights.

‘The trade unions should take action, everybody should take action – his freedom is our freedom.

‘We have to protect journalists and whistleblowers.

‘I agree the unions should organise mass demonstrations and a general strike to get this government out.

‘The Johnson government is complicit in the illegal torture and silencing of a journalist this must stop.’

University and College Union NEC member Dr Deepa Driver said: ‘I’m here as an academic observer to the Julian Assange trial.

‘I’m here because I’m deeply concerned that war crimes committed by our governments in our name were courageously revealed by whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, yet these crimes have not been investigated.

‘UN Special Rapporteur Professor Nils Metzer has confirmed that Julian and Chelsea have instead been persecuted and tortured.

‘This is a grave finding by the UN and the British government has not taken suitable action.

‘All academics and trade unionists should be concerned by the risk this has posed to free speech and the protection of whistleblowers.’

Assange’s father John Shipton posed before a giant mobile billboard that read: ‘Don’t extradite Assange. Journalism is not a crime.’

Shipton told News Line: ‘It’s a fraud upon the court, the prosecution of Julian Assange for extradition. Either that or it’s a show trial.

‘I’ve got a firm belief in the English justice system.

‘This injustice to Julian, this malice, will be discontinued by the High Court judges.’