The Spontaneous Expression of Joyous Defiance 33

Saturday’s Hands Around Parliament event for Assange was massively uplifting. We hoped for 5,000 and feared we would fall short and fail to link the chain due to transport strikes. But in fact 12,000 people showed up for what became a glorious celebration of dissent and a festival of mutual support.

I walked the entire circuit across the face of the Houses of Parliament, though Westminster Park, across Lambeth Bridge, along Lambeth Palace and St Thomas’ Hospital, across Westminster Bridge and back into Parliament Square, and can assure you the chain was fully complete – indeed in places replete – with determined people proudly expressing their opposition to the persecution of Assange, and proclaiming their dissent in an atmosphere that was one of joy and celebration.

Walking the circuit, I spoke with many hundreds and bumped into small organised groups who had come from France, Belgium, Germany and the United States, and individuals who had traveled especially from as far away as Chile, Australia and New Zealand. I met more than a few tourists who had joined in the demonstration after simply coming to look at Westminster. And I met hundreds of readers of this blog, many of whom had actively campaigned against my own imprisonment. I appear in an improbable number of selfies. It was like an afternoon in a warm bath of comradeship.

But what was most striking was that this was a gathering of individuals, with real personal concern for freedom, the truth and the right to dissent. There were no large organisations involved and no money behind it. The diversity was beautiful – almost every race and culture on the planet was there, and also every social class. I quite literally chatted with a Duchess and with a Big Issue seller within a minute of each other.

There was also by far the most diverse age profile I have ever seen on an Assange protest. Thousands of young people had come out to support Julian and Freedom of Speech – that is something I had never witnessed before, which had always worried me.

From talking with them on Saturday, I think that climate change activism is motivating young people. They are then realising that climate change cannot be tackled without understanding who truly wields political power, and coming up hard against increasing restrictions on the right to protest to try to change society.

Russell Brand and Jeremy Corbyn were among those who turned up in support. I met many, many old friends and veterans of other campaigns. The fight to save Julian continues through the courts and continues in both local and international politics.

Needless to say, Saturday’s event was not much covered in mainstream media, which reported that “hundreds” of supporters had turned out. You could not form that chain over several kilometers with just hundreds of people. I jokingly suggested that we had made a mistake by completing the chain – if we had failed, the media would have put it on TV to mock us!

This was the biggest Assange event so far, and a remarkable achievement given the transport network was entirely crippled by strike action that day. It felt more mainstream in the numbers and kinds of people who were represented. That a man is suffering without end, for publishing nothing but the truth about war crimes, is coming home to more and more people.

That degree of support means to continue to build. All extraditions are political, and the display of public concern is helpful. But the inspiring effect of Saturday on those of us campaigning is invaluable. I feel a huge burst of new energy and commitment, and I know that others do too. Stella gave Julian an account of it on the phone, and it gave him a big boost. He needs it, as he is currently down with Covid and in even greater isolation at the prison.


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33 thoughts on “The Spontaneous Expression of Joyous Defiance

  • Robert Dyson

    Tells you a lot about the MSM. Each of those 12,000 will have friends and contacts that they will spread the news to. A1

  • Cliff Moore

    Well, I was lucky enough to meet you Craig briefly on your meander around the fairly large (miles long!) circle of supporters and completed circle hand-holders. The seat of power had finally been surrounded by an angry “mob” (but not an unruly one I hasten to add!). Luckily there was only real journalist there – the “plastic” ones seemed more interested in an ex-Spice Girls conversation in a lift! Keep on truckin’

  • Oscar

    Bravo! I wish I could have been there.

    In Spain only one newspaper echoed the event. Does anyone doubt that journalists who work in the mass media are prostituting their noble profession?


    We continue and resist.

  • Fat Jon

    Wow, that is one of the most inspiring posts I have read for a long time. I, too, wish I could have been there; but just reading about it is the next best thing for me.

    I searched the MSM internet pages at one point on Saturday, but found nothing and gave up.

    I’m sure Julian will be heartened to know just how strong his support is across the world.

  • mark golding

    “To the US government I say simply this. President Biden and your government who won an election against an extremely intolerant right wing president; who won that with the support of millions of Americans who wanted to live in a free, open, democratic society.

    Many of the Americans who stand amongst those who marched for the Human Rights Act, who marched for democracy and justice, who marched against the Vietnam war, are you really wanting your administration to be the one who imprisoned a journalist, a journalist for telling the truth about wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and the environmental destruction by big business and other companies in so many parts of the world?

    I say to the American government, to President Biden, think from whence you’ve come and think of your place in history. Are you to go down in history as a President who put a journalist in prison on a triple life sentence or, you get your place in history as a man who stood up for free speech, stood up for journalism, stood up for the right of great people like Julian Assange?

    Your choice.”

    Jeremy Corbyn 8th Oct. 2022 London Westminster

  • pasha

    Nah, nothing about this in the mainstream media, therefore it never happened, the handful of people that might have shown up are delusional, Craig is a liar, and Assange is guilty and should stay in prison forever. Death to democracy! Freedom of speech is just another passing fad. War is forever.

  • Republicofscotland

    Media reporting that Julian Assange is very ill with Covid, and that he’s locked in his cell 24/7 because he has the Covid infection.

    Also noticed a jobsworthy police officer courtesy of Mark Golding’s link (Thanks Mark) removing yellow ribbons from the railings at Westminster.

    • On the train

      That is so concerning. Surely they have a duty of care to provide him with medical treatment, get him to hospital etc. Don’t they ?

  • Crispa

    I find it a strange coincidence that immediately after the biggest demonstration so far not just in London but around the world Julian Assange has been put into solitary confinement on the grounds of a positive Covid test. If he is ill then so be it and he should be getting proper medical treatment with paxlovid or similar anti-viral therapy and of course one would wish him a speedy recovery. Otherwise I remain deeply suspicious about the actions of the prison authorities using a spurious test and test result to have him put further out of the way at this time.

    • mark cutts

      In my opinion they are hoping that Julain Assange dies in prison.

      He is a Political Prisoner – the type of political prisoner alleged freedom loving democracies rail against
      in non ‘ freedom ‘ loving ‘ non democratic ‘ countries.

      RT remains banned in the Free World ( in a Putin like way?)

  • Marc Donaghy

    The climate change agenda is just that, An Agenda. All the real science points too the exact opposite of what the paid off mouth pieces are spouting. We should not be suprised by this tho, as you said the same people who would condemn Julian to death would just as quickly condemn us all together same fate as you know we are all becoming ‘Useless Eaters’ in their eyes. So yes it maybe a good thing that the young are being brought into the fold of questioning Narratives via that so how long before they see thru the lies of that as they have thru the lies spouted by the same powerful people about Julians work via Wiki leaks. I would love to see what Wikileaks have uncovered about the Climate Change narrative being published.

    • Ian Smith

      There has been a good thirty five years of increasing climate alarmism while the world remains exactly the same outside your windows. No reason to suggest they cannot keep it going for at least another couple of decades.

    • Bayard

      “But yes….. hundreds of protesters!”


      “Hundreds of protesters, including Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, gathered in a line which stretched from parliament’s perimeter railings and snaked across nearby Westminster Bridge to the other side of the River Thames.”

      The Mail:

      “Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Russell Brand joined the hundreds of protesters outside the Palace of Westminster to demonstrate against the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange…..Mr Assange’s wife Stella, accompanied by their two young sons, was applauded by protesters forming a human chain that snaked along Westminster Bridge, along the front of Parliament and into Victoria Tower Gardens.”

  • zoot

    when the british parliament is surrounded by a human chain – as far as i’m aware, for the first time in its history – you might think this would be newsworthy for the ‘liberal’ bbc and guardian, but apparently not.

  • nevermind

    Climate change protesters do have a point, they are mostly young, can see the control privatised utilities are bestowed with by the puppets-on-strings in charge. They will not take a run and jump; they want to see their efforts bear fruit.
    Since Rachel Carson published ‘Silent spring’ in the late 1960’s, some of us expected Governments to incrementally change filthy habits. Instead they increased pollution, built more roads, and failed to grasp the dire situation we are sleepwalking towards.

    Environmentalism is not just an agenda, it is a necessity for species to exist, to deal with increasing temperatures and increased acidity in our oceans, ignorance and lack of action is obviously easy to translate into sticking one’s head in the sand, do nothing.
    Julian Assange equipped and informed us about the lack of diplomacy, warcrimes breaking all rules of engagements, the spread of military hegemony over us all and what we can expect under the kosh and control of murderous regimes that have a dualist approach to justice, rules of engagement and interpretations of Human Rights.

    The world owes Julian Assange support and understanding. At least climate protesters have an open mind and are part of a campaign to free the best journalist that ever existed. Thank you for the excellent uplifting report Craig, and thanks to Roger for the links to le Matin, whose coverage will very likely be the most read by those with influence.

  • Ronan

    Well done to everyone who was there, I live in Belfast and money is tight or I’d have flown to London myself to join. Would have been star struck had I of met Craig there as well and I would have been one of those asking for a selfie! lol