In Brazil, demonstrations held in support of WikiLeaks after President Lula sides with the site's founder

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  • December 13, 2010

By Maira Magro

In recent days Brazil has seen various demonstrations in support of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI) issued a statement supporting the publication of documents from a cache of 250,000 secret diplomatic cables, arguing that the information is in the public's interest.

"Citizens have the right to know the actions of their governments in international relations," ABRAJI said. The association also called for a fair trial for Assange, who was arrested on rape charges.

Brazil's president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also has defended Assange, reported O Globo: "We're going to protest against those who censored Wikileaks," said Lula, who earlier had expressed solidarity with the site last week.

On Saturday, according to the newspaper Folha, WikiLeaks supporters organized a wave of citizen protests around the world. In Sao Paulo, about 30 people participated in a demonstration to free Assange held in front of the British consulate.

Meanwhile, a petition organized by activist organization Avaaz gathered more than 600,000 signatures in defense of Assange as of noon Monday. The non-governmental organization Article 19 criticized in a statement the political pressure governments have placed on Internet companies to stop providing services to WikiLeaks.

Also, journalist Natalia Viana published on Dec. 7 an interview with Assange on the site Opera Mundi, and launched a blog about Wikileaks on the magazine site Carta Capital. In various countries, mirror sites have appeared publishing the same content as the original WikiLeaks site that was taken down, to ensure the publication of classified documents continues.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.