Hundreds of people rallied at the state library on Human Rights Day, Friday, and marched through Melbourne CBD to show their support of Wikileaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange.
The demonstration demanded the Government’s guarantee that Assange, who is currently detained in a British prison, will receive protection and every assistance possible as an Australian citizen.
A number of speakers said they were disgusted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard for claiming that Julian Assange has broken the law.
The crowd’s reaction was deafening.
Ms Gillard has since failed to name an Australian law she thinks Mr. Assange has broken, and she has received much criticism for speaking out of her depth on an issue that is for the courts to decide.
In an attempt to refine her statement, she told the ABC, ‘… let’s not try and put any glosses on this. It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks if there had not been an illegal act undertaken.’
Mr Assange’s lawyers are now considering a defamation lawsuit against the Prime Minister.
You can see a photo gallery of the Melbourne rally here.
The pro-Wikileaks protest was a concerted effort in all capital cities, the Sydney event attracting more than 1,200 people.
According to The Age, more than 500 people took part in the Melbourne rally.
The Herald Sun reported that police said the protesters were ‘well behaved, but annoying‘. The organisers had apparently failed to notify the police about the demonstration.
Another rally is planned for Tuesday, when Julian Assange faces a London court.
Steinar Ellingsen is a journalist and photographer who is working on a practice-based thesis about alternative communities in regional Australian, and teaches for La Trobe’s Journalism program.