Vivienne Westwood protests in a giant cage, dressed as a canary

The British designer was suspended in the cage outside London’s Old Bailey in protest of Julian Assange’s extradition to the US

In a sentence you probably never thought you’d be reading circa 9am on a Tuesday morning, Vivienne Westwood has been suspended ten feet in the air in a giant bird cage dressed as ‘a canary’ outside London’s Old Bailey, in protest against Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States. 

When she’d returned to the ground and emerged from the cage, Westwood, in an all-yellow suit, told reporters: “Julian Assange is the canary in the cage, he has been trapped by a big net, taken out of the sun and shoved in a cage,” and called his arrest “a stitch-up”. “For the rest of his life he will become a symbol of what happens to you if you dare to expose the truth. Telling the truth is not a crime,” the designer and activist, who has long been a vocal supporter of Assange, added. 

Currently held on remand in Belmarsh Prison in London, the Wikileaks founder is set to appear at an extradition hearing in early September, with the US government pushing for him to be brought back to America to stand trial for allegedly conspiring to hack into military databases and publishing information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Westwood's stunt comes the day before his lawyers are set to make a bail application at Westminster Magistrates Court. 

Of course, Westwood is no stranger to putting her money where her mouth is when it comes to taking action for the causes she believes in. Away from the runway, where she has long made her ideology known, in 2018 the legendary British designer headed to a proposed fracking site in Lancashire to protest against the practice, making headlines as she danced to Abba’s “Dancing Queen” alongside hundreds of others who had also turned out. More recently, she’s been backing Greta Thunberg in her fight against climate change, telling The Big Issue she would make “a great world leader”.