Update, 9.30pm: Julian Assange has called on US President Barack Obama to stop the country’s “war on whistleblowers” in a theatrical performance from within the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Speaking from a balcony attached to the embassy, the WikiLeaks founder used his short speech to launch a savage attack on the US in his first address since entering the embassy seeking asylum two months ago.
“I ask President Obama to do the right thing,” he said in front of a huge gathering of the world’s media and WikiLeaks supporters in central London.
“The United States must renounce the witch hunt against WikiLeaks.
“The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation.
“The FBI must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff and supporters.
“The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the crimes of the powerful.”
Dressed in a blue shirt with a red tie and sporting a short haircut, Mr Assange looked more presidential than the mastermind behind the secret-spilling website that has upset US authorities by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
In a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions on sexual offences, Mr Assange took up residency inside the South American country’s embassy in mid-June.
He was granted asylum by Ecuador last week and thanked the country and its leaders for their support.
Mr Assange is currently holed up within the embassy with British authorities intending to send him to Sweden as soon as he steps back onto British soil or airspace.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has voted to hold a meeting next Friday following Ecuador’s decision to grant political asylum to Assange, who is currently taking refuge in the country’s embassy in London.
Mr Assange gave no indication of what his immediate plans were.