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Spanish Wikileaks protests over treatment of Julian Assange

Protests have been taking place across Spain aimed at calling for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be released.

As is well known, the whistle-blowing site’s founder is facing extradition from Britain to Sweden in order to answer to alleged sexual crimes that he occured. Outside of Madrid’s British embassy, hundreds of protestors gathered while brandishing banners and singing slogans that called for his release, believing that Assange’s detention is entirely politically motivated given that the he has angered the American authorities by the release of around a quarter of a million confidential diplomatic cables.

On Tuesday, Mr Assange was apprehended in the UK capital London after Sweden finally managed to secure a warrant for his arrest. For weeks, the Swedish authorities have been hunting the site creator so that they can question him in relation to the sexual offence allegations. As he was refused bail in Britain, Assange and his legal team have vowed to fight extradition.

While online supporters have begun to mount cyber-protests against Assange’s ongoing detention, Saturday’s protests were among the first street demonstrations that have been held in support of Wikileaks. Donning face masks that are associated with the group of hackers that has caused chaos for those that withdrew their payment services to site, Anonymous, the Madrid protestors shouted for Assange’s freedom while also speaking to Spanish TV and radio as to why they were gathering outside the British Embassy.

Given the fact that Spain only managed to emerge from over four decades of complete authoritarian rule in the 70s, freedom of speech is a particularly sensitive subject for the Spanish.

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