By John Millington
THE British government threatened to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London early this morning in order to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
As this story went to press, scores of police officers amassed outside the embassy with several reportedly inside with the permission of embassy officials.
In a written communication last night to Ecuadorian diplomats, the British government said it would revoke the embassy’s “diplomatic status” allowing officers to enter and seize Mr Assange.
The UK government cited the Diplomatic and Consular Premises act of 1987 which they say gives them the right to enter after they have revoked an embassies status.
However under the Vienna Convention – an international treaty, embassies are part of those countries sovereign space.
The Ecuadorian government promised to”respond” if the treaty was violated.
They are expected to make a decision on whether to grant Mr Assange’s asylum claim or allow him to be extradited to Sweden on sex crime charges.
Commenting on the “threats” by the British Government to enter the Embassy without permission, an Ecuadorian government spokesman said:
“We are deeply shocked by British government’s threats against the sovereignty of the Ecuadorian Embassy and their suggestion that they may forcibly enter the embassy.
This is a clear breach of international law and the protocols set out in the Vienna Convention.
Throughout out the last 56 days Mr. Julian Assange has been in the Embassy, the Ecuadorian Government has acted honourably in all our attempts to seek a resolution to the situation. This stands in stark contrast to the escalation of the British Government today with their threats to breakdown the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Instead of threatening violence against the Ecuadorian Embassy the British Government should use its energy to find a peaceful resolution to this situation which we are aiming to achieve. “
Supporters of Mr Assange and journalists are currently outside the embassy as developments continue to unfold.
More to follow…