Vivienne Westwood suspends herself 10ft in the air inside a giant bird cage outside the Old Bailey in ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ protest over the extradition of Julian Assange to the US
- Westwood enacted metaphor of ‘The Canary In Coal Mine’ outside the Old Bailey
- Using a megaphone Westwood hit out at governments ‘gaming the legal system’
- Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act
- Wikileaks editor is being held in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison
Dame Vivienne Westwood has harnessed herself in a giant birdcage outside The Old Bailey to protest the possible extradition to the US of Julian Assange.
Westwood, dressed in a yellow trouser suit, enacted the metaphor of ‘The Canary In Coal Mine’, which is meant to symbolise Assange being sacrificed for the ‘poison’ in the political system.
Using a megaphone outside the court this morning she said: ‘I am Julian Assange. I am the canary in the cage. If I die down the coal mine from poisonous gas, that’s the signal for all the miners to leave.
‘But I am half poisoned already from government corruption and gaming of the system and legal system by governments. I am still whistling away but 7 billion people don’t know what the f**k is going on.’
Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion after the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion after the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011
He is currently being held in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison while the court system tries to reschedule his extradition hearing, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The designer appeared on Good Morning Britain about her stunt that was designed by her son Joe Corre.
She said: ‘I am a canary and canaries are whistleblowers.
‘Julian is not exactly a whistleblower, he is the source of publishing whistleblower information. He did an amazing thing when he, in 2016, established WikiLeaks as a safe haven for whistleblowers.
‘We need the truth about Julian Assange and here I am sort of whistleblowing the truth.’
Dame Vivienne Westwood harnessed herself into a giant bird cage outside the Old Bailey
She added: ‘I am Julian Assange, I am the canary in the cage, he has been trapped by a big net, taken out of the sun and shoved in a cage.
‘The problem is they want to send him to America for a sentence of 175 years and stick him in a concrete block for a jail.
‘This could happen to every journalist because it is not a crime to publish the truth.’
Westwood’s activist son, Joe Corré, is behind the protest. Corré, who founded Agent Provocateur, famously turned down an MBE in 2007, in protest against the illegal war in Iraq that Tony Blair took Britain into.
Joe Corré says: ‘Julian Assange is being persecuted for speaking the truth’.
‘The UK public and the international community must now urgently mobilise to shield him from the 175-year living death sentence awaiting him in the United States’.
‘Assange’s legal battle is the most important case in our time about press freedom, about whistleblowers, and about holding the powerful to account through the media’.
‘The media, the public, the judiciary, the politicians, should be outraged over his treatment’.