Ecuadorian police repress mass march demanding Julian Assange’s freedom
Bill Van Auken
18 April 2019
Thousands of Ecuadorian workers and youth marched through Quito’s historic colonial center Wednesday demanding the downfall of the country’s President Lenin Moreno and freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The demonstration, one of the largest since Moreno took office in 2017, was met with brutal repression. The security forces unleashed mounted police, attack dogs and tear gas against the marchers as they came within two blocks of the Plaza de la Independencia, the site of the Carondelet presidential palace, which was ringed by a heavy cordon of police and armed troops.
Several people were wounded in the police attack, including two news photographers, and at least six were arrested.
Protesters carried signs demanding “Free Assange,” and many wore Assange masks. Others carried placards with photos and drawings depicting Assange’s cat, mocking the Moreno government, whose ambassador in London had absurdly accused the pet of “spying” on the embassy staff.
The crowds chanted, “Moreno, hypocrite and traitor, the people reject you!”
The trigger for the demonstration, called under the slogan “not one less right” [#niunderechomenos] was the Moreno government’s order to throw open the doors to the London embassy, where Assange had been granted asylum since 2012, to a police snatch squad which dragged him away to a British jail cell. As a result, he now faces the threat of rendition to the US to face trial for daring to publish documents exposing the war crimes and global conspiracies of the US government.
Organizers of the march, which included prominently the party Revolución Ciudadana which supports the former president and Moreno…