Video: Julian Assange addresses his supporters from embassy
Julian Assange addressed both his supporters and the media this afternoon. He also spoke directly to President Barack Obama. Update: video of interview with Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan.
Assange stood on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London, which was surrounded by many police officers, supporters and the media.
To the cheers of many supporters, he gave a moving speech. He addressed his supporters with these words:
"On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and police descended on this building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it, and you brought the world's eyes with you. Inside this embassy after dark I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape."
"But I knew there would be witnesses. And that was because of you."
"If the U.K. did not throw away the terms of the Vienna Convention it was because the world was watching and the world was watching because you were watching."
He thanked President Correa "for the courage he has shown" in granting him asylum. He thanked Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and other government members in Ecuador, and also thanked the staff at the embassy for their excellent hospitality and kindness, amongst such threats.
He also gave special thanks to all the Latin American countries who are supporting the right of asylum and are standing with Ecuador in the diplomatic scandal over the U.K.'s threat to enter the embassy and arrest him.
He further thanked supporters in the U.K., U.S., Sweden and Australia who are standing behind him.
Assange spoke about journalists and whistleblowers who are being targeted for trying to tell the truth, and that this must end.
Assange directly addressed President Barack Obama and requested that he drop all investigations against WikiLeaks. He further asked Obama to release Bradley Manning, pointing out that he had been imprisoned without charge for over 815 days. He called Manning a hero for what he had done.
Manning is facing court martial, imprisonment and torture for releasing the Collateral Murder video, showing civilians and two Reuters Journalists being shot down in cold blood.
Assange said, "The United States must pledge before the world [that it] will not pursue journalists for shining light on the secret crimes of the powerful. The U.S. administration’s war against whistleblowers must end."
Video taken on the scene by Digital Journal's Romeo Marquez:
Assange Standoff: Hands off Ecuador!
Includes interview with Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan: