Motley collection of disparate groups gathered outside embassy and chanted "We are not a British colony"

  • @jerometaylor

Throughout the day the normally sedate streets around Knightsbridge echoed to the sound of protest as a motley collection of disparate groups gathered to await Quito's decision.

There were die hard solo Assange supporters, members of Anonymous in their Guy Fawkes masks, Ecuadorian nationals, well-healed locals and a smattering of bewildered tourists. Accompanied by loud-hailers and a portable sound box blasting out protests tracks by bands such as Rage Against the Machine they copied President Correa's words from earlier in the week and chanted "We are not a British colony". From time to time the police would ask demonstrators to move from the pavement next to the embassy to the opposite side of the road prompting the occasional scuffle and a handful of arrests.

Many of those outside the embassy rehearsed previously heard arguments that they were motivated by a perceived threat to Mr Assange's personal safety. But others said they felt compelled to come down once they heard that Britain might consider entering the embassy.

"It would set a terrible precedent if Britain went in," said Matthew Vernham, a 23-year-old law graduate. "Embassies are supposed to be safe havens, what's to stop others copying Britain if they decide to throw that all out of the window?"

A number of Ecuadorian nationals were also outside including Sandra Montero, an interior designer who moved to London from Quito four years ago. "It's a brave thing that President Correa is doing," she said.

"But Ecuador must stand up to Britain, we cannot be treated this way. The whole of Latin America is bullied by Britain and America."

One protester dressed in a red Hawaiian shirt took to reading Noam Chompsky's 'Hopes and Expectations'.

Ecuador grants asylum to Assange and condemns Britain's 'threatening and intimidating' language