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Thousands gather for human chain around parliament against extradition of Julian Assange

THOUSANDS of campaigners joined MPs over the weekend to form a human chain around Parliament and protest against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

A chain of protesters snaked along Westminster Bridge on Saturday, along South Bank and back around Lambeth bridge completely surrounding the Houses of Parliament.

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn linked arms with fellow MP Claudia Webbe and former Unite leader Len McCluskey in the chain.

He said: “I would say to MPs — of any party — you’re there to represent democracy and rights.

“That’s what you sign up for. If Julian Assange is extradited, it will set forth fear among other journalists of doing anything to expose truth.

“It becomes a self-censorship of journalists all around the world.”

Campaigner and event organiser John Rees told the Star: “What this event says to Parliament and the courts is that people just don’t believe the story here.

“They don’t believe that a journalist should be enduring his fourth year in Belmarsh, they don’t think that there should be this kind of assault on the freedom of press, they want the extradition halted and they want Julian Assange freed.”

Mr Rees called on MPs to “get on the case” of the new government and the Home Secretary.

He said: “[Suella Braverman’s] not exactly stable in her job. In fact, the entire government is not stable in their jobs.

“The people who are doing this to Julian Assange are quite politically weak, they are vulnerable to political pressure, and it’s up to the MPs to play their part in making that pressure effective.

“We’ve done [our part]. Thousands and thousands turned out today — MPs should do the same.”

Former shadow chancellor and NUJ parliamentary group founding member John McDonnell said: “What we have here is a journalist who has reported on some of the worst war crimes that we have seen in recent history.

“And as a result of that, he has been imprisoned and is now with the threat of extradition.”

Mr McDonnell, who has visited Mr Assange in prison, said he fears his life is at risk.

He said: “We are standing up, not just for Julian Assange, but for journalists across the globe to have the right to report freely and to write the truth.

“If we do not secure the freedom of Julian Assange, no journalist is safe from this type of political threat.”


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