Ecuador has granted the political asylum request of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.
Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since a UK court ruled he must be extradited to Sweden. There he is accused of rape and sexual assault, though no formal charges have been made.
Assange fears he will eventually end up in the United States, where he believes authorities want him punished for publishing thousands of secret US diplomatic communications on his WikiLeaks website.
Britain’s Foreign Office said they could revoke diplomatic status within a week and officers could move in to the embassy and remove Assange by force.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino expressed shock, saying were the British to forcibly enter the embassy, it would be a hostile and intolerable attack on his country’s sovereignty.
There have been protests by Assange supporters outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London as well as the UK’s embassy in Quito.