Ecuadorian community and friends come to show their support for Julian and the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister.
Commentary by Omar Todd – WikiLeaks Party National Council member – From the front line – Sunday 16 June 2013.
On a typical Sunday, I like to find a warm spot and float into a siesta, however on this particular Sunday I had a higher calling beckoning and it was my conscience reminding me that almost a year has passed since a man, a fellow Aussie who stands for transparency, accountability and therefore real democracy, still remains marooned inside a small room at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. As the only WikiLeaks Party National Council member in London at present I decided to go and show my support and take some images of the events there for our WikiLeaks Party website and social media networks.
When I first arrived I thought that a rampaging army must be about to be unleashed from inside the Embassy, such was the strong, overwhelming presence of police. The heavy police presence struck me as incongruous – perhaps the police were worried about being overwhelmed by the good natured, lyrical, guitar playing crowd! There was no question to me that the numbers of police officers on duty was overkill. I’m starting to see how the Metropolitan Police have to date, managed to spend over £4 million to guard a man who has about as much violence in him as the average kitten; now that’s a smart use of the police budget.
The atmosphere was sedate at first, but more and more supporters slowly started to filter their way into the area outside the front of the Embassy, backed up what looked to be quite a few Latin American/ Ecuadorian supporters. I deduced this from how some of them started to strum distinctly Latin sounding tunes and for a brief moment I wanted to dash to the nearest bar and shotgun some tequilas, such was the passion and warmth of their music. With this as the background, I introduced myself to Ciaron O’Reilly who was the organiser of the event and an avid supporter of WikiLeaks. He was talking constantly to the cameras and reporters and he demonstrated the type of passion and commitment that I have witnessed in the world of animal rights activism which I am also involved in. People like Ciaron are the real humanitarians in my view and he made me feel most welcome to the event.
The buzzy atmosphere started to ramp up as the Minister prepared to appear with Julian from the window of the Embassy. When the curtains were drawn, you could see the Minister and Julian standing there while an aide opened up the window so that the media and supporting crowd, which was now cheering enthusiastically, could catch a glimpse. I managed to take some photos and felt that the wait was well worth it as Julian and the minister seemed very pleased to see each other. At that moment, I felt hopeful that the determined support shown to date by the Ecuadorian government would continue and that William Hague will now face some hard questions about allowing Julian the freedom to leave the UK without facing the danger of being arrested and then extradited to Sweden, which we all suspect is actually a short cut to the USA. I know that Julian feels immensely grateful for the support shown by the Ecuadorian president and people – as well as to his supporters in London and back home – for their determination and commitment to protecting his human rights.