The arrest was made in connection to an extradition warrant from the United States, according to the New York Times. Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years. The country stopped granting him asylum, leading to the arrest.
“He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
WikiLeaks published thousands of United States diplomatic cables and classified documents in 2010. The organization said the extradition warrant was in connection with publishing the information.
Video of the arrest showed the WikiLeaks founder with a long white beard being taken out of the embassy by numerous law enforcement officers.
The relationship between Assange and Ecuador had been rocky in recent days, with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno saying he “repeatedly violated” the terms of his asylum.
The United States charged the WikiLeaks founder late last year, a fact that was made public because of a court error.
Edward Snowden called the arrest a “dark moment for press freedom” on Thursday morning.
“Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of–like it or not–award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books,” Snowden wrote on Twitter. “Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”
Pamela Anderson, who has been friendly with the journalist, also lashed out on Twitter.
I am in shock..— Pamela Anderson (@pamfoundation) April 11, 2019
I couldn’t hear clearly what he said?
He looks very bad.
How could you Equador ?
(Because he exposed you).
How could you UK. ?
Of course – you are America’s bitch and
you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit bullshit.
And the USA ?— Pamela Anderson (@pamfoundation) April 11, 2019
This toxic coward of a President
He needs to rally his base? –
You are selfish and cruel.
You have taken the entire world backwards.
You are devils and liars and thieves.
And you will ROTT
WE WILL RISE ✊