WATCH | Assange arrest sparks passionate reactions

11 April 2019 - 14:15 By AFP

The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sparked passionate reactions from foes and allies alike on Thursday.

Supporters branded his arrest by British police an assault on freedom, while his enemies hailed it as a step towards justice.

Here is a summary of reactions from officials, activists and celebrities to the 47-year-old Australian's arrest.

WikiLeaks: asylum halt 'illegal' 

"Ecuador has illegally terminated Assange's political asylum in violation of international law," WikiLeaks said on Twitter.

Ecuador: 'sovereign right' 

"Ecuador has decided with sovereign rights to withdraw the diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange for repeatedly violating international conventions and the protocol of co-habitation," President Lenin Moreno said on Twitter.

Snowden: 'Dark moment' 

"Assange's critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom," US whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Twitter.

Russia: UK 'strangling freedom' 

"The hand of 'democracy' is strangling freedom," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook.

Ecuador leader branded 'traitor'

"The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange... What he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget," Ecuador's former leader Rafael Correa wrote on Twitter.

Sweden accuser: reopen case 

"We will do everything we can to get the prosecutors to reopen the Swedish investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape," his accuser's lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz told AFP.

Australia: 'due process' 

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was "confident" that Assange "will receive due process in the legal proceedings he faces in the United Kingdom."

'Pamela Anderson: 'shock' 

"I am in shock. How could you Equador (sic)? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK?" wrote the former "Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson, reportedly a close friend of Assange, on Twitter.

In colourful language, she suggested Britain acted under pressure from the United States and to divert attention from its woes over Brexit.

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