Four activists supporting embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conducted a sit-in protest on Friday inside the UK Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, as 20 others rallied downstairs. The protesters cleared out after police threatened arrests.
The demonstrators, calling themselves the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance, first gathered in front of the building on Melbourne's Collins Street that houses the UK Consulate on its 17th floor.
Protesters chanted “Hands off WikiLeaks, free Julian Assange,” and held signs, one of which read “Let him go you lying bastards,” and another “respect Assange's asylum.”
Two male and two female demonstrators, entered the building at 11:15am local time, Melbourne news website The Age reported. Around a dozen police officers arrived at the scene and entered the building shortly afterward to disperse the protesters.
One man was arrested for trespassing and later freed. The rally had dissipated by 1:30pm.
The Australian government deferred to Washington and has done nothing to help Julian Assange, an Australian national, because the US wants to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to American soil to face the “draconian punishment that Bradley Manning is going through,” Greg Barns, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance said to RT.
Speaking on the UK's threats to storm Ecuador's London embassy if Assange is granted asylum, Barns said that such actions would be disgraceful, and “would effectively be saying that when it comes to the US, Britain – like Australia – will do whatever it takes to deliver.”
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