The city that Wikileaks was born in held a rally of over 1000 people last night at 6pm. The venue, the BMW Edge auditorium in Federation Square was so full that masses of people had to stand out i the rain and were content to do so in order to watch the speakers, including Julian Assange, on the giant screen.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the era of the internet generation has arrived and that he will continue to expose "abusive organisations".
Speaking in a recorded message to a public meeting in Melbourne of over 1000 people, on Friday, Mr Assange said he can't wait to be back in his home town and called on Australians concerned about his plight to take action.
He compared WikiLeaks' push for more transparent governance to the civil rights movement of the 1950s, the peace movement of the 1960s, feminism movements and the environmental movement.
"For the internet generation this is our challenge and this is our time," Mr Assange said.
"We support a cause that is no more radical a proposition than that the citizenry has a right to scrutinise the state.
"The state has asserted its authority by surveilling, monitoring and regimenting all of us, all the while hiding behind cloaks of security and opaqueness," Mr Assange told the free speech rally.
"Surely it was only a matter of time before citizens pushed back and we asserted our rights," he said.
Mr Assange has been living in a mansion in England owned by a WikiLeaks supporter while he awaits an extradition hearing to decide if he will be sent to Sweden to face rape charges.
The full hearing is due to begin on Monday, and in his video address Mr Assange appeared calm next to a window overlooking a meadow as he read a prepared statement.
He continued. "With your help and support we will make our way through this storm and continue to publish and hold powerful and abusive organisations to account."
There have been numerous calls for him to be assassinated, including one from Tom Flanagan, a former adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and from rightwing commentators on America's Fox News.
Assange called on Australians to insist that attacks against his staff and organisation stop, that the federal government "come clean" on its interactions with foreign powers in relation to WikiLeaks, and that he be allowed to return home.
"We have been deeply moved by the concern that Australians have shown for us, but I ask that you turn your concern into action," he said.
He said that through its silence, the Australian government has condoned calls to have him and his staff killed.
Video of Julian Assange giving his message Julian Assange.
other speakers included:
Jennifer Robinson - Assange's UK lawyer live by London videolink
Adam Bandt - Federal MP for Melbourne
Peter Gordon - Principal of Gordon Legal
Lizzie O'Shea - Melbourne public interest solicitor
Christopher Warren - Federal Secretary of Media, Entertainment & Arts
The event was sponsored by the:
Law Institute Victoria, Liberty Victoria, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, GetUp, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and Future Leaders