The 79-year-old Westwood, dressed in a canary yellow outfit, chanted slogans of protest such as “Free Julian Assange!” while being suspended in a giant birdcage outside London’s Old Bailey criminal court. Westwood, a longtime supporter of Assange, stated that she wanted to get him “out of the cage.”
Assange is currently fighting a battle to not get extradited to the U.S. If he does, he faces 17 charges under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion after several hundred thousand classified documents were published over 2010 and 2011. He is currently an inmate of London’s high-security Belmarsh prison. His extradition hearing will commence at the Old Bailey from Sept. 7.
Addressing the assembled crowd on Tuesday, Westwood said, “It’s not a crime to tell the truth,” and that the cage was a representation of the space Assange would inhabit if extradited to the U.S.
In a diary entry announcing her cage protest on Monday, Westwood wrote, “I am Julian Assange, I am the canary in the cage. If I die, down in the coal mine from poisonous gas, that’s the signal for ev. 2 get out. I am half poisoned already from gas — legal corruption, gaming the system. No sun. I am whistling away but 7bn people don’t know what’s going on in spiral.”
— Vivienne Westwood (@FollowWestwood) July 20, 2020
“It is not illegal but in the public interest 2 publish American war crimes. Don’t Extradite Assange. It’s a stitch up,” Westwood continued.