In an attempt to show her support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to call for a stop to his extradition to the US, veteran fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood staged a protest outside London’s Central Criminal Court by dressing up as a canary bird inside a giant bird cage. Also Read - 'Julian Assange Could Die in Jail,' Write 60 Doctors to UK Home Secretary Over WikiLeaks Founder's Failing Health
The Australian whistleblower came under international spotlight nine years ago after WikiLeaks published leaked military information, provided by former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, which prompted the US government to launch a criminal investigation into the publisher.
The 49-year-old is behind a high-security prison for allegedly damaging national security by publishing several classified documents that harmed the US and its allies and aided its adversaries since it included diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will face charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion if extradited to the US.
While he is due to appear for an extradition hearing on September 7 this year, the 79-year-old designer suspended 10ft above the ground in a birdcage in front of the Old Bailey, led protesters who chanted “Free Julian Assange”. Westwood asserted, “It is not a crime to pubish the truth” and in an interview with The Associated Press, she shared that freeing Assange would mean that “journalists can continue to tell the truth, rather than repeating the spin that’s dealt to them by the government.”
In the viral video, Westwood is heard saying on a loudspeaker from inside the cage, “I am the canary in the coal mine. If I die down in the coal mine from poisonous gas, then that’s the signal.” She added, “And I am a canary. I am half poisoned already from government corruption and gaming of the system and legal system by governments.”