M.I.A. took the stage outside of the U.K. Home Office in London earlier today, performing in protest of the potential extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Watch a clip above via Pitchfork. In an Instagram post promoting the event, M.I.A. asked fans "in support of peace, empathy, and freedom of speech" to show up at the "Don't Extradite Assange" event.
Assange was arrested on sexual assault charges filed by Swedish authorities in December 2010, soon after Wikileaks began publishing secret government documents obtained by Chelsea Manning. The Swedish government dropped the charges in 2017 before reopening the case this year. Assange broke his bail and claimed asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2012, and lived there until the government of Ecuador revoked his passport, leading to his arrest by British authorities.
Assange will face an extradition hearing in February 2020, which will determine whether or not he will be sent to the United States to face charges of computer intrusion and violating the Espionage Act.
M.I.A. has collaborated with Assange on a talk at London's Meltdown Festival and the theme music for Assange's 2012 television program The World Tomorrow. "He helped you to see hypocrisy," M.I.A. wrote in May 2017 after the sexual assault charges against Assange were initially dropped. "You should thank him and fast fix your system not hide him or the cracks he exposed.”
Thumbnail photo by Anu Shukla