THE GUARDIAN (UK), BBC MUNDO
The UK Foreign Office has threatened to raid Ecuador's embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange, even if President Rafael Correa officially grants asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.
Supporters of Assange have been protesting outside the embassy Thursday morning against the British government's threat that police would storm the embassy and arrest Assange despite Ecuador's pledge to grant asylum. Reports suggest that some protestors were arrested as tensions mount.
UK to refuse safe passage if Assange grated asylum. That's the same country that refused to extradite mass killer Pinochet. What a joke.— Vince Medeiros (@vincemedeiros) August 16, 2012
The letter sent to the Ecuadorian government Wednesday evening read:
"You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy. We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations."
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patiño expressed his anger at the British government's statement, declaring it "improper of a democratic, civilized and rule-abiding country," reports the Guardian.
"We are not a British colony," Patiño said, provoking protestors in Ecuador's capital, Quito, to hold signs similarly asserting "We are sovereign, not colonies."
Arturo Wallace of BBC Mundo wrote today: "Critics of President Rafael Correa have accused the government of not properly handling Mr Assange's case but have also deemed the UK position unacceptable. They also fear any violation of Ecuador's sovereignty would strengthen Mr Correa and could turn him into a hero. The question now is whether they will let him fight this battle on his own."