Mr Assange, barely recognisable – sporting a long white beard and wagging a finger, shouted “UK must resist” as he was carried out in handcuffs by seven men and hauled into a police van.
He has been in the building for nearly seven years after seeking refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden and was detained on Thursday after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum.
Scotland Yard has confirmed that Mr Assange is being held on behalf of US authorities, as well as for breaching bail conditions. Following Mr Assange’s detention, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Sky News: “No one is above the law and Julian Assange is no hero. He’s hidden from the truth for years and years, and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.”
In a tweet, he thanked the government of Ecuador for its cooperation on the arrest. “Everybody wants to bring this to an end,” Europe minister Sir Alan Duncan told Sky News. “Anyone who’s been holed up in a room for seven years is really going to suffer, mentally and physically, so just on a human level it was important that this was brought to an end.”
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
Mr Moreno said in a video statement released on Twitter: “Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
WikiLeaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”. Mr Assange was holding a copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State when he was brought out of the building.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who lives in exile in Russia, said in a tweet that images of Mr Assange’s arrest are going to end up in the history books. “Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom,” Mr Snowden wrote.