By Alex Lantier
25 January 2020
Today, hundreds of “yellow vests” from France and protesters from other countries across Europe, including Belgium and Britain, are protesting outside Belmarsh maximum security prison in London to demand the freeing of WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange.
A principled and courageous journalist whose revelations exposed imperialist crimes against humanity and encouraged working class protests around the world, Assange is the target of a relentless state campaign to destroy him. He is locked up in Belmarsh, subjected to torture according to testimony from doctors and UN experts, and faces extradition to America. There, he faces a life sentence in prison under the US Espionage Act, for publishing material such as the “Collateral Murder” video of US troops illegally gunning down civilians in US-occupied Iraq.
The decision of the “yellow vests” to protest in London points to deeply rooted international opposition to the relentless persecution of Assange among workers and more serious artists and intellectuals. As part of their initiative, they have also issued a petition, signed by over 15,000 people, including leading figures of French and European artistic life, titled “Freedom for Julian Assange.”
Corinne and Yannick, two “yellow vests” involved in organizing the Belmarsh protest, spoke to the WSWS after a recent “yellow vest” protest in Paris. “Assange represents the struggle against the persecution of journalists who defend the truth. We are defending journalism against an abuse of democracy,” Corrine noted. “As yellow vests, or otherwise, we cannot be indifferent to his fate.” […]