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Saturday, December 22, 2012
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WikiLeaks to publish 1m secret documents

Announces Assange in confinement in Ecuadorean embassy

Julian Assange has said WikiLeaks is preparing to publish one million new secret government documents as he marked six months of refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London with a speech from its balcony on Thursday.

The WikiLeaks founder has remained in the embassy to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden on suspicion of sexual offences.

There is a permanent police guard and Assange will be arrested if he leaves the premises, The Guardian writes.

"Next year will be equally busy. WikiLeaks has already over one million documents being prepared to be released, documents that affect every country in the world -- every country in this world," he said to applause.

The Australian former computer hacker thanked Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa for granting him asylum and hit out at the United States and other Western governments.

"True democracy is not the White House, true democracy is not cameras, true democracy is the resistance of people armed with the truth against lies from Tahrir to London," he said.

But the 41-year-old added that "the door is open, and the door has always been open, for anyone who wishes to speak to me" to resolve the situation.

He raised his hand in a clenched fist salute at the end of the speech, reports AFP.

About 80 supporters gathered on Thursday night to hear Assange speak. They carried candles and held placards reading, "Don't shoot the messenger" and "Don't trust Sweden". Some sang Christmas carols as they waited for Assange to speak from the first floor balcony, a short distance from Harrods department store. There were 60 additional police officers on duty.

Assange emerged with a raised fist and greeted the crowd: "What a sight for sore eyes. People ask what gives me hope. The answer is right here."

He was momentarily disturbed when a journalist from Channel 4 shouted questions at him with a loudhailer, but he recovered and delivered a 15-minute speech which was high in rhetoric and low in novelty.

"Six months ago I entered this building. It has become my home, my office and my refuge. Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorean government and the support of its people, I am safe in this embassy and safe to speak from this embassy," he said.

Assange said that as long as the US government sought to persecute him and the Australian government refused to support him, he had no choice but to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy.

He added that attempts to prosecute him were an attack on freedom of speech before stepping back into the embassy.

Time Blades, 40, one of Assange's supporters, said that he had been coming to the embassy to show his support for the WikiLeaks founder since August.

"I come in defence of freedom of speech and to defend the right of Julian Assange to have asylum granted to him by a sovereign and independent country. This cannot go on for ever. The British government has to permit safe access to Ecuador for Julian Assange. This will only happen as a result of diplomatic pressure and the people pressure," he said.

Ana Alban, the Ecuadorean ambassador, said in a statement that his government continued to support Assange.

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