WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police after they were invited into the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012.
"Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador," police said.
Police said they arrested Mr Assange after being "invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorean government's withdrawal of asylum."
A bearded Mr Assange resisted as he was dragged down several steps at Ecuador's London embassy by officers and bundled into a police van.
Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation.
That probe was later dropped, but Mr Assange fears he could be extradited to face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.
Mr Assange was taken into custody at a central London police station and he will be brought before Westminster Magistrates' Court, police said.
Mr Assange's relationship with his hosts collapsed after Ecuador accused him of leaking information about President Lenin Moreno's personal life. Moreno had previously said Assange has violated the terms of his asylum.
Images of Ecuador's ambassador inviting the UK's secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of--like it or not--award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books. Assange's critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom. https://t.co/ys1AIdh2FP— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
Mr Moreno said that he had asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.
"The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules," Mr Moreno said.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has thanked Mr Moreno for allowing police to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy.
"Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years," Mr Hunt tweeted.
"Thank you Ecuador and President Lenin Moreno for your cooperation with foreignoffice to ensure Assange faces justice."
WikiLeaks said Ecuador had illegally terminated Mr Assange's political asylum in violation of international law.
To some, Mr Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech.
But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined the security of the United States.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, answering a question about the arrest, said Moscow hopes that Mr Assange's rights will not be violated.
Britain's Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan, said it was right that Mr Assange would face UK justice
PUSH FOR SWEDEN TO REOPEN CASE
A Swedish lawyer representing the alleged victim in a rape investigation involving WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange said she would push to have prosecutors reopen the probe that was dropped in 2017.
"My client and I have just received the news that Assange has been arrested. The fact that what we have been waiting and hoping for for nearly seven years is now happening, of course, comes as a shock to my client," Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer of the alleged victim, said.
"We will do all we can to get prosecutors to reopen the Swedish preliminary criminal investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape," she said in a text message.
JULIAN ASSANGE TIMELINE
London July 2010: WikiLeaks releases its Afghanistan War Diary, a collection of some 90,000 mainly secret US government documents relating to the military engagement of Allied forces in Afghanistan.
August 2010: Swedish prosecutors issue arrest warrant for Assange in connection with claims of sexual offences.
October 2010: WikiLeaks publishes 400,000 classified documents in its Iraq War Diary.
December 2010: Assange gives himself up to British police. He is released on bail after his supporters pay STG240,000 ($US 375,000) in cash and sureties. He is electronically tagged and the legal battle over his extradition to Sweden begins.
February 2011: Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London rules that Assange should be extradited to Sweden. Assange vows to appeal against the decision fearing extradition to the US.
May 2012: The Supreme Court rules that Assange should be extradited to Sweden.
June 2012: Assange takes refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and claims political asylum. British authorities threaten to arrest him if he leaves the embassy.
August 2012: Ecuador grants Assange asylum.
August 2015: Swedish prosecutors drop three cases of alleged sexual offences against Assange, but say the investigation into a suspected rape in 2010 is ongoing.
February 2016: A UN panel says Britain and Sweden have been subjecting Assange to "arbitrary detention" and that he should be released.
December 2016: Assange says he is innocent in "politicised" rape case.
May 19, 2017: Swedish prosecutors say they are dropping their preliminary investigation into a rape allegation.
May 24, 2017: Leftist Lenin Moreno is inaugurated as president of Ecuador and states Assange can remain in embassy but warns him not to meddle in Ecuador's domestic politics and labels him a "hacker."
December 12, 2017: Ecuador grants Assange citizenship.
January 24, 2018: Moreno makes it plain that Assange has overstayed his welcome, saying his inherited problem was "like a stone in your shoe."
February 6, 2018: A British court rules that the arrest warrant for Assange for breach of bail conditions remains valid.
March 28, 2018: Ecuador suspends Assange's internet access and banned him from receiving visitors because his social media messages are putting its "good relations" with Britain, the European Union and other nations "at risk."
October 2018: Ecuador imposes a new set of house rules on Assange, saying he must clean his bathroom, look after his cat, James, and pay for his own electricity and internet.
November 15, 2018: Reports emerge in the US that Assange has been charged under seal by the US Justice Department for unspecified crimes.
April 2, 2019: Moreno accuses Assange of repeatedly violating the terms of his asylum. He says that private photographs of himself and his family have been circulated online, though does not directly accuse WikiLeaks of circulating the hacked photos.WikiLeaks says Moreno's statement is retaliation for WikiLeaks having reported on corruption allegations against Moreno.
April 4, 2019: WikiLeaks says Assange is to be kicked out of the embassy in "hours to days."
April 11, 2019: British police arrest Assange at Ecuador's embassy after the country's government revoked his asylum status.
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