Ecuador claims UK threatens to barge in to embassy and grab Assange

The government of Ecuador says British authorities have threatened to barge into Ecuadorean embassy in London if officials there do not comply with demands to hand over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding out there while his request for asylum is considered.

"We are not a British colony," said the country's prime minister in a press conference today. "The days of the colony are over."

More at the NYT. If the claims are true, the threat to invade another country's embassy is unprecedented in the UK—particularly since Assange has not been charged with a crime. As I write this post, Wikileaks' twitter feed is publishing tweets that vans of police have surrounded the building. A decision on Assange's asylum bid is expected soon.

Declan McCullagh at CNET:

Police showed up at Ecuador's London embassy this evening, hours after the Ecuadorian government accused the U.K. government of threatening a raid to nab Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. A live video feed from citizen journalist James Albury showed police in the outer lobby of the red brick building, which is also home to private apartments and Columbia's embassy. But it wasn't clear whether police had entered the Ecuadorian embassy itself, which would be an extreme breach of diplomatic protocol.

Live-tweeters at the scene: Humunculus Flannel, James Albury.

Live video here. Alternate live stream here.

Ecuador, as some have noted, is a weird choice for a man known as a freedom-of-information advocate: the country's president has presided over a growing crackdown on journalists. CPJ reports that president Correa's administration "has led Ecuador into an era of widespread repression" against journalists, and press censorship.

Good luck with that.

Kevin Gozstola has a liveblog here.