Politics

Ecuador Has Taken Away Famous Online Man Julian Assange’s Internet Access

Someone's been naughty.

assange

The Ecuadorian embassy where Julian Assange has been hanging out for the past few years has cut off his internet access this morning, saying the whistleblower breached an agreement not to tweet stuff that might jeopardise Ecuador’s relations with other countries.

Specifically, Assange recently tweeted criticism of the arrest of a Catalonian separatist leader, which Ecuador said “put at risk” its diplomatic relations.

In many ways, the move is much like that of a frustrated parent resorting to desperate measures to discipline their unruly teenage son, except in Assange’s case cutting off his internet effectively cuts off all of his contact with the outside world. Assange, if you’ve forgotten, is the Wikileaks dude who’s been stuck in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 — he’s technically free to leave, but he’ll be arrested if he does.

The news of his internet privileges being revoked has really divided punters. Some people seem to be relieved to have a brief reprieve from Assange’s tweets, while his supporters have launched the hashtag #ReconnectJulian and called on people to rally outside the embassy and demand he be allowed back online.

A live feed from outside the Ecuadorian embassy appears to show three or four people gathered outside with signs saying “Free Assange”. There’s a slightly larger online vigil going, which would be nice for Assange if he could log on to see it.

This incident isn’t the first time Ecuador has cut off Assange’s internet access, but it’s the first time it hasn’t clearly stated that the punishment is temporary. I guess we’ll find out in coming days whether the embassy means it this time.