People gathered on the steps of the South Australian parliament in Adelaide today to express support for the Wikileaks website and it's editor-in-chief, Julian Assange. This protest is one of many rallies around Australia to support Assange and Wikileaks.
Estimated to number over 200 people, the crowd heard from a number of speakers including South Australian Greens MLC Tammy Franks. In a pre-rally statement Ms Franks said: "Political leaders may not be enjoying the content of Wikileaks but that does not give them licence to set up witch-hunts to those volunteers behind the scenes of Wikileaks. The people ruled by these Governments should let these leaders know loud and clear such actions will not be tolerated in a democracy."
"Wikileaks has made some powerful enemies over past months who have sought to use their power to silence the site. WikiLeaks has so far survived through the supported of less powerful but far more numerous friends who have worked to defend the principles of a free press and particularly freedom of information and accountability of democratic governments to their citizens." she said.
"It is now time for all of those who believe in freedom of the press to stand up and be counted. I commend 2010 Gold Walkley Award winner Laurie Oakes for doing just that and hope he will be one of countless journalists across Australia and the world defending WikiLeaks."
"It is concerning that Australian Prime Minister Gillard said earlier this month that WikiLeaks' release of cables was 'an illegal thing to do' but more than a week after she first made the claim, she has still not been able to identify an Australian law that WikiLeaks has actually broken. Yet in this period our federal government has had all the resources of the AFP attempting to do just that."
"There is a simple way for Governments to avoid the embarrassment and incriminations of leaked cables - be they through WikiLeaks or any other media sources - revealing that they have not acted appropriately. That is for all Governments to start acting as if someone were watching and listening to all their activities and to behave in a manner their citizens can be respect and be proud of, rather than be outraged by," concluded Ms Franks.
Banners at the rally included: "Don't shoot the messenger", "Don't Censor wikileaks" and "Knowledge is free Democracy is transparent".
The protest went mobile down Rundle Mall before blocking King William and Rundle intersection.
A further rally will occur in Adelaide on Tuesday December 14 starting at 4.30pm at Parliament House. The protest is timed to occur for Julian Assange's next bail hearing in London. Australians in London are currently organising a protest at the Australian Embassy and for the bail hearing.