Assange statue on Maggie?
DANIEL BATEMAN | August 10th, 2012
PLANS to erect a monument to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be discussed at a special event held in his honour on Magnetic Island this weekend.
The Nobel Peace Prize nominee is holed up in the Equador’s embassy in London, and seeking asylum in the South American country to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of sexual assault.
A decision as to whether he will be granted asylum is expected to be made after Sunday.
Mr Assange, 41, who was born in Townsville in 1971, lived on Magnetic Island with his mother Christine. He has described growing up on the island as being akin to “Tom Sawyer.”
Islanders are hosting a picnic at Picnic Bay on Sunday, to voice their support for the freedom of information fighter.
They will also discuss plans to erect a monument to Mr Assange, to mark his childhood island home, and as a symbol of his battle for truth and justice.
Local activist David “Crusty” Herron, who in the past has floated the idea of Wikileaks-inspired public urinal in the past, believed a proper monument was still a good idea. “He’s an award-winning journalist, who has shown the little bloke that he can’t be pushed around,” he said.
Magnetic Island Community Development Association president Lorna Hempstead believed any money that would be spent on a monument would be better spent as a donation to Wikileaks, to help fight Mr Assange’s sexual assault charge.
“A monument is not going to keep him out of jail, and it’s not going to keep freedom of speech,” she said.
Magnetic Times editor George Hirst said the picnic would celebrate the achievements of Mr Assange, who he believed was a great example to others. “I’ve sort of stepped out of the role of being a journalist who just reports in this instance, because I think it’s an actual extraordinary circumstance for a journalist who needs a little bit of proactive support,” he said.
“Having looked at his story over some time, and in great depth, and reporting on his background on Magnetic Island, this is an appropriate thing to do. I would urge any journalist who felt so inspired to join us as well.”
The Picnic on Picnic for Julian Assange picnic will be held at Picnic Island on Sunday from 4pm.