Solidarity actions for Julian Assange in Belgium

Julian Assange has accomplished his role as a journalist by informing the public. The guilty ones are those who committed the war crimes he has exposed.

DiEM25 Belgium is part of the Free Assange Committee in Belgium, together with other movements and individual members. And while we may be at odds on issues with other  groups on the committee, we are all completely united in the defence of Assange. It is an obvious move for DiEM25 to be involved with the Free Assange Committee, not only because Julian Assange is a member of the Advisory Panel of DiEM25, but because he is fighting for transparency.

In a world where citizens are spied on all the time and all over the place, whether on their phones or computers, or even on the street, Wikileaks has put the spotlight back on those in power, who don’t like their little secrets to be known, especially if they are far removed from official propaganda.

We must defend whistleblowers because they reveal what governments are doing ‘in the public interest’.

Freedom of the press is at stake. Because, after Assange, it is other journalists who will be targeted. Already, journalists are paying a heavy price for carrying out their profession. Glenn Greenwald, who published the NSA leaks that Snowden gave him, is still being persecuted. Journalists are being murdered every year.

Wikileaks has made hundreds of thousands of pieces of information available to the press from around the world. Only the US government is prosecuting him and demanding his extradition. This is something that other people in power may not be unhappy about, since Assange is shaking the table. Tomorrow it may be other governments that demand the extradition of their journalists.

Half a century ago, brave whistleblowers let Americans know what crimes their country’s leaders were committing in Vietnam on their behalf. They were persecuted by the American authorities. But now Hollywood has made a film to the glory of the Washington Post, which published the documents that the governments of the time wanted to keep secret.

Since April 2019, the Free Assange Committee has demonstrated each Monday after 5pm.

On the first Monday of the month we demonstrate in front of the British Embassy, the other Mondays on the Place de la Monnaie in Brussels, and sometimes in front of the American Embassy, just like on the 5th October 2020. The only time we didn’t demonstrate in the streets was between the end of March and the end of May 2020 because of the national lockdown due to COVID 19. But during this period, we stayed active online.

Photo: We made a chain by joining hands in front of the Palais de Justice in Brussels in the summer of 2019.

In January 2020, with financial help from DiEM25, we put statues up in this city of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, works of art by the Italian artist Davide Domino. The statues were installed during a ceremony attended by Brussels city officials.

In addition to staying active online and the continuous dissemination of information on the situation of Assange and the legal proceedings, the Committee organised a petition campaign against the extradition of Assange to the United States: thousands of signatures were collected and the petitions were handed over to the British Embassy. The Committee also organised conferences and film screenings with debates.

A letter-writing campaign targeted the press (newspapers, radio and television), the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the chairmen of political parties, as well as members of Parliament. Some positive responses were received, notably from the European Parliament, some of whose members took part in demonstrations in front of the British Embassy. We now also have an active group in Namur.

Several campaigns are currently underway: tying yellow ribbons (the colour of Assange’s prisoner armband) in places where people pass through, such as the Atomium, on the outskirts of the Federal Parliament. And a campaign entitled “Silence, on informe” (“Shhh, we’re being informative”) is aimed at the press.

Photo: People have photographed themselves with a placard calling for the release of Assange, which is addressed specifically to a certain press organ. (Sign reads: “To journalists: If Assange shuts up… the press will no longer be able to speak”)

Last week, the Progressive International, in its Defend Assange Campaign, organised the Belmarsh Tribunal.

Figures such as Yanis Varoufakis, Roger Waters, Lula Da Silva, Yanis Varoufakis, Rafael Correa, Alicia Castro, Pamela Anderson, Slavoj Zizek, John McDonnell, Jennifer Robinson, Angela Richter, Srećko Horvat, MIA, Tariq Ali all called for the immediate release of Julian Assange. This event put an emphasis on the criminal activities exposed by Assange — indeed, it is the State of the USA which should be on trial. Watch it here!

Join us at our demonstrations to condemn the imprisonment of Julian Assange.

During our weekly demonstrations and through our online presence we regularly recruit new members. Almost every week, people whom we have convinced of the rightness of Assange’s cause come to join us, to distribute leaflets, to hold up signs, to get petitions signed.

Join us in defending Assange and turning the charge against his persecutors — he has only done his job as a journalist by informing us. The guilty are those who committed the war crimes he has exposed.

If you want to join our demonstrations, contact the Free Assange Belgium Committee. The next meeting is on Monday 12th  October at 5 p.m. at the Place de la Monnaie.

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