Event celebrating whistleblowers marks Julian Assange embassy milestone

Event celebrating whistleblowers marks Julian Assange embassy milestone

A global event celebrating whistleblowers and freedom of expression will be held to mark the fourth anniversary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's stay in the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Under the title First They Came For Assange, songs, speeches and readings will be held simultaneously in a number of cities today.

Mr Assange has been living inside the embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over a sex allegation, which he denies.

He believes he will be taken to the United States to be quizzed over the activities of WikiLeaks if he goes to Sweden, with the FBI pursuing charges including espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, theft of government property and computer crimes.

The simultaneous events at Paris's Centre Pompidou, Berlin's Volksbuhne, Brussels' Theatre Bozar, Madrid's Circulo de Bellas Artes, Milan Fashion Week, Belgrade, Naples and Sarajevo will kick off Assange Week, with additional events in New York, Quito, Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

Participants include Patti Smith, Brian Eno, PJ Harvey, Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, Ai Weiwei, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Moore and Ken Loach.

Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat, a founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement, and one of the organisers of the event, said: "The inspiration for the title of the event comes from the famous Martin Niemoller poem about the cowardice of intellectuals and purging of dissidents.

"What we want to stress with these events is that we live in a critical time. We are gathering all around the world on June 19 to speak out for Julian, because he has spoken out for all of us."

Film-maker Loach explained he will join the event because "our legal system is being manipulated to keep a brave man in isolation" and that "all who care about freedom of information should demand that the threats made against Julian should be lifted.

"He should be able to leave his place of safety without fear of deportation or being handed over to those who intend him harm."

More in this Section

Nissan shareholders vent spleen at managementNissan shareholders vent spleen at management

Coronavirus study prompts optimism despite death toll riseCoronavirus study prompts optimism despite death toll rise

Apple warns of coronavirus impact on resultsApple warns of coronavirus impact on results

British woman swept away by Storm Dennis floodwater is found deadBritish woman swept away by Storm Dennis floodwater is found dead


FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner