M.I.A. has performed outside the UK Government’s Home Office to protest the potential extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
The British-Tamil pop star, who played with rapper Lowkey, posted on Instagram: “If you are in support of peace, empathy, and freedom of speech on the 5th, 6pm, pull up n turn up.” The event, called “Don’t Extradite Assange”, saw the singer perform an impassioned set on a small stage, accompanied by a lot of flashing lights.
Assange had been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012 until earlier this year when the Ecuadorian government suspended his citizenship after reports of “discourteous and aggressive behaviour”. The 48-year-old is currently in custody in England and facing extradition to the United States, where he was charged with conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer network in 2010. The extradition hearing is set for February 2020.
M.I.A. has been a longtime supporter of Assange, who was accused of rape crimes by two women in 2010. After the Swedish authorities dropped allegations against him, the singer wrote a statement in Assange’s defence, stating: “Let's not ask questions about that because that’s normal but dismiss everything this guy did because it hasn't occurred to you that we are not in the 60s and 70s where they just kill you like Malcom x or JFK , they just ‘slander’ or ‘frame’ you mostly use sex or drugs or money to do it.” The Swedish authories reopened the investigation earlier this year.