Scotland Yard said the 47-year-old was detained by officers on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court. Assange was taken into custody at a central London police station where he will be held before appearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.”
Julian Assange gives a thumbs up as he arrives in court
The spokesman said Assange was “further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10.53am after his arrival at a central London police station”.
He said: “This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act.
“He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.”
Scotland Yard sources said police were invited into the embassy and made the arrest shortly after 10am. The source said: “It was a planned operation.”
Assange has now been driven to Westminster Magistrates’ Court and is expected to appear before magistrates at 2pm.
Officers remained stationed outside the embassy building, which is near Harrods in exclusive Knightsbridge, including one van with several officers inside.
Demonstrators carrying banners which said “Free Julian” also arrived after Scotland Yard said it had arrested Assange.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “Nearly seven years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK.
“I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law.”
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said: “Ecuador is a generous country and a nation with open arms.
“Ours is a government respectful of the principles of international law, and of the institution of the right of asylum.
“Getting or withdrawing asylum is a sovereign right of the Ecuadorian state, according to international law.
“Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organisation, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
Scotland Yard said Assange was detained at the embassy in central London
Mr Moreno said Ecuador’s patience had finally reached its limits with Mr Assange’s behaviour.
He said: “He installed electronic and distortion equipment not allowed. He blocked the security cameras of the Ecuadorian Mission in London.
“He has confronted and mistreated guard. He had accessed security files of our Embassy without permission.
“He claimed to be isolated and rejected the internet connection offered by the embassy and yet he had a mobile phone with which he communicated with the outside world.
“While Ecuador upheld the generous conditions of his asylum, Mr Assange legally challenged in three difference instances the legality of the protocol.”
Police swoop on the Ecuadorian embassy in London
But WikiLeaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.
The group tweeted: “URGENT: Ecuador has illegally terminated political asylum in violation of international law. He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.”
It accused “powerful actors”, including the CIA, of a “sophisticated” effort to dehumanise Assange.
In a later tweet, the organisation posted a photo of Assange with the words: “This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism awards. He’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010.
“Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimise and imprison him. #ProtectJulian.”
Dramatic scenes unfolded outside the Ecuadorian embassy as Julian Assange was arrested
And Assange’s legal team said he been arrested on a US extradition request as well as for breaching UK bail conditions.
His arrest comes a day after Wikileaks accused the Ecuadorean Government of an “extensive spying operation” against Assange.
WikiLeaks claims meetings with lawyers and a doctor inside the embassy over the past year were secretly filmed.
Assange had refused to leave the embassy, claiming he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he did so.
Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, who was in power when Assange was granted asylum, described his successor as a traitor.
Mr Correa tweeted: “Lenin Moreno, disastrous President of Ecuador, has shown his human misery to the world, handing Julian Assange – not only in asylum, but also an Ecuadorian citizen – to the British police.
“This puts Assange’s life at risk and humiliates Ecuador.
“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange.
“Moreno is a corrupt man but what he has done now is a crime that humanity will never forget.”