Wikileaks: Australians mobilise to defend free speech


December 13, 2010 -- Rallies and marches have been held across Australia, on December 9-12 and with more scheduled, to protest against the persecution of the whistleblower website Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.

In Brisbane, rallies of around 400 people were held on successive days, on December 9 and 10. Speakers at the December 10 rally included Greens representative Andrew Bartlett, Socialist Alliance member and radical academic Gary McLennan, the lawyer for victimised Indian Doctor Mohamed Haneef, Sri Lankan campaigner for Tamil rights Dr Brian Senewiratne, Pro-Choice women's rights activist Kathy Newnam, anti-war veterans' organisation Steadfast spokesperson Hamish Chitts and Socialist Alliance co-convenor Jim McIlroy.



Green Left Weekly co-editor Simon Butler addresses the December 10, 2010, rally in Sydney.

In Sydney on December 10, up to 1500 people rallied in Sydney's Town Hall Square. Speakers included independent journalist Antony Loewenstein, Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens NSW upper house candidate David Shoebridge, Green Left Weekly co-editor Simon Butler, Pirate Party representative Simon Frew and the editor of Wikileaks Central.

About 1500 people rallied and marched around Melbourne CBD on December 10 in support of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange (photo slideshow above). The marchers did a sit-down in Latrobe Street.

In Adelaide, around 500 people rallied on December 12. Protests were also held in Perth and Hobart.



Socialist Alliance's Renfrey Clarke addresses the December 12, 2010, rally in Adelaide.

Pilger backs Wikileaks protests

Award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger is actively supporting the international campaign in defence of Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Statement released by organisers of the Sydney rally to defend Wikileaks on December 10 at Sydney Town Hall. For more information, visit http://www.rally4wikileaks.com or email rally4wikileaks.info@gmail.com.

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Renowned independent journalist and filmmaker John Pilger has offered his support for the protest organised by supporters of Wikileaks on Friday, December 10 at 1pm at Sydney Town Hall.

In a message to rally organisers, John Pilger said: “The defence of Julian Assange and Wikileaks is one of the most important issues of my lifetime. There are now two superpowers in the world — the military power of Washington and the power of public opinion and justice, which Wikileaks represents.

“If the Australian prime minister doesn't understand this, we Australians need to remind her that she may head a mercenary government but we are not a mercenary people.

“Those of us in London who are working to free Julian, knowing that the Swedish prosecution is a political stunt that would never produce a fair trial, will be at his side, and we call on the support of every decent Australian.”

Noam Chomsky backs Wikileaks protests in Australia

Noam Chomsky.
December 10, 2010 -- Noam Chomsky, renowned academic, author and critic of US imperialism, has offered his support to protesters across Australia planning to take to the streets in defence of Wikileaks.

In a message to the rallies, Chomsky said: “Julian Assange is performing his civic duties, courageously and honorably. Naturally, systems of power wish to protect themselves from citizens — while at the same time sparing no effort to intrude into private lives so as better to establish their control.

“Defense against these practices should be a primary concern for those who value freedom and democracy.”

Chomsky joins award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, who has also offered his support to the Australian protesters in a statement. Pilger said: “The defence of Julian Assange and Wikileaks is one of the most important issues of my lifetime. There are now two superpowers in the world — the military power of Washington and the power of public opinion and justice, which Wikileaks represents.

“If the Australian prime minister doesn't understand this, we Australians need to remind her that she may head a mercenary government but we are not a mercenary people.

“Those of us in London who are working to free Julian, knowing that the Swedish prosecution is a political stunt that would never produce a fair trial, will be at his side, and we call on the support of every decent Australian.”

The first of the national protests took place in Brisbane on the evening of December 9. More than 300 people took to the streets in support of Wikileaks. A further protest in Brisbane will take place at midday on December 10, as well as protests on December 10 and beyond in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

 

 

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