Vigil for Julian Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy

by Stephen Hewitt | Published 7 October 2018

23 September 2018: Ciaron O'Reilly outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with a banner he has put on the pavement, “The truth will set you free FREE JULIAN ASSANGE”
23 September 2018: Ciaron O'Reilly outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with a banner he has put on the pavement, “The truth will set you free FREE JULIAN ASSANGE”

On the evening of Sunday 23 September 2018, arriving without any prior communication I found Ciaron O'Reilly and two other people in the small cul-de-sac next to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London at 3 Hans Crescent, SW1X 0LS.

They proceeded with a ceremony described as a liturgy, with readings from the Bible and breaking of a sandwich and ending with the Lord's prayer.

Later Ciaron O'Reilly spread out a banner on the pavement in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy which read “The truth will set you free FREE JULIAN ASSANGE” and placed a candle on the railings above it. (Photo)

23 September 2018: A lit candle and a poster showing Julian Assange placed by Ciaron O'Reilly at the front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
23 September 2018: A lit candle and a poster showing Julian Assange placed by Ciaron O'Reilly at the front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Asked to explain why Julian Assange should be a cause for a peace activist he said “He has exposed a war that over a million people in this city marched against and one wonders where they are now”, adding “as he pays the consequences of that”.

He went on to say that Julian Assange comes from a strong anti-war background.

He was aiming to expand the vigil to include more people and to be twenty-four hours a day. There would be more vigils during the week. And next Sunday, he said, the plan was to meet at the Ecuadorian Embassy at noon, go to Hyde Park at three and return to the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Ciaron O'Reilly, 58, has been a long-time non-violent war resister with religious beliefs. In 2002 he spoke in Cambridge at the invitation of Cambridge University students in a society called CamSAW (Cambridge students against war). He described amongst other things how he and some others had damaged a military bomber runway in the USA and served time in a US jail as a result.

When I left he was wrapped in a sleeping bag, preparing to sleep overnight in the street near the embassy.

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