Culture

 

British Queen celebrates

 

The London court where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due to appear at a hearing has been besieged by protesters and media.

Hundreds of people packed the busy road outside City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Photographers and cameramen from around the world made the small, staired entrance almost impassable. Dozens of police officers corralled a vocal and diverse protest behind metal fencing on the other side of the road.

A squad of officers helped celebrity Jemima Khan as she walked into court amid chaotic scenes to again offer a cash surety. Veteran journalist and campaigner John Pilger, who has also put up cash bail, pushed his way through the scrum.

Among those leading the protest were gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and Lindsey German of the Stop the War campaign group.

Some demonstrators wore masks representing comic book hero V, from V for Vendetta, and others used scarves to conceal their identity.

Many carried placards mocking the British and Swedish authorities as well as black and white images of Assange.

One read: "Sweden, puppets of the US", another said "There is something rotten in the state of Sweden" and many said "Exposing war crimes is not a crime".

Assange is at the court to make a fresh appeal to be bailed. The 39-year-old Australian was remanded in custody last week as he vowed to fight attempts to extradite him to Sweden for alleged sex offences.

The former hacker, who is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden, turned himself in to Scotland Yard detectives last week.

 

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