Press freedom advocates call for Julian Assange's release in 200th protest in Brussels

Press freedom advocates call for Julian Assange's release in 200th protest in Brussels

A protest demonstration for the release of jailed whistleblower Julian Assange was held on Monday evening in Brussels for the 200th time, with about 30 people descending on the Place de la Monnaie in answer to a call from the Free Assange Belgium Committee.

Several orange boxes were placed on the public road so that participants could hold a flashmob. First, they put 200 support flyers in a bag that was on the ground, then they sat on a chair and each displayed one of the letters that together reflected the message 'Free Julian Assange.' Another man then put himself behind the activists with the word “Now” on a page.

Assange has been incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in Britain since 2019. Until then he stayed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The United States is requesting his extradition because as a whistleblower he revealed thousands of classified U.S. documents.

“I ask that freedom of the press and freedom of information be guaranteed in the public interest,” Ernest Sagaga, head of the human rights and security department of the International Federation of Journalists, told protesters on Monday.

“The mission of a journalist is to expose what the powerful want to hide," he added. "Here it is not just Julian Assange who is targeted. It is all journalists. I therefore call on the United States to restore his freedom and allow him to return to his family and friends.”

Since Assange was imprisoned in 2019, an act of support has been held every Monday in Brussels. Similar protests have been held in capitals around the world.

The imprisoned journalist has expressed opposition to his arrest and possible extradition to the United States on several occasions in recent years.

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