The computer hacking group, Anonymous, on Tuesday claimed that it had launched a series of attacks on the U.K. Government websites, including those of Downing Street and the Home Office, to protest against its reported threat to storm the Ecuadorian embassy here after stripping it of its diplomatic status and seize WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange.
Mr. Assange has been holed up inside the small mission for more than two months to escape extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.
Last week, he was granted asylum by Ecuador but Britain has refused to give him safe passage arguing that that it is under “obligation’’ to extradite him as he has exhausted all legal options.
The government denied it had any plans to send police into the embassy but warned that Mr. Assange would be arrested the moment he came out.
“Anonymous’’ announced the attacks over Twitter using the hashtag #OpFreeAssange .
A statement on its website said: “We will not abandon Julian Assange nor will we abandon the cause of WikiLeaks. Telling the truth is not a crime. Whistleblowers and hacktivists are not criminals.’’
The Ministry of Justice reported “some disruption” to its website after being attacked on Monday but said it was a public information website and held “no sensitive data’’.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa warned that any attempt to storm his country’s embassy would be “suicide for Great Britain because then people could enter their diplomatic premises all around the world and they wouldn't be able to say a thing”.
Meanwhile, women’s groups attacked Respect party MP George Galloway for saying that Mr. Assange was accused of nothing more than “bad sexual etiquette’’.