The UK will do everything in its power to block Assange’s passage to Ecuador even if he is granted asylum by the nation’s government, officials said, claiming a legal obligation to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden.
UK authorities sparked a scandal when they announced they were prepared to raid the Ecuadorian embassy in London in order to apprehend Assange, effectively revoking the embassy’s diplomatic immunity.
In response, the Ecuadorian National Assembly President Fernando Cordero called an emergency meeting to assess “unusual and arrogant threat to pave our embassy in London.”
“Giving asylum doesn’t fundamentally change anything,” said a spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office.
“We must be absolutely clear this means that should we receive a request for safe passage for Mr Assange, after granting asylum, this would be refused.”
The Ecuadorian foreign minister said that such an act would be interpreted as “hostile and intolerable,” and an attack on Ecuador’s sovereignty that would provoke a dramatic diplomatic response.
“We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,” Ecuadorian minister Ricardo Patino said following a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
Police arrest Assange sympathizers
Police cordoned off the area around the Ecuadorian embassy in London in an attempt to disperse the gathered crowd of protesters. A brawl broke out between police and protesters, resulting in three arrests, RT’s London correspondent reported. A heavy police presence was witnessed in front of the embassy.
Crowds outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on August 16, 2012 as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange awaits the decision of the Ecuadorian Government on granting his asylum request. (AFP Photo/Will Oliver)
Image from Twitter/@RTLondonBureau