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Chelsea Manning’s freedom celebrated with events around the world

Vigils, rallies and social media postings accompany Manning’s release on IDAHOBIT, along with guerilla art Checkpoint Charlie

Chelsea Manning’s freedom celebrated with events around the world
stephenlowman | instagram
A poster of Chelsea Manning was pasted up at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin today

The release of Chelsea Manning from prison is being marked today with gatherings in at least nine countries.

Former US solider Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking military documents and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.

She has been defended by human rights activists worldwide for her attempt to highlight the actions of the US army in Iraq and elsewhere.

Many have said her arrest, sentencing and lengthy prison sentence would deter other potential whistleblowers.

President Barak Obama commuted her sentence shortly before leaving office, and she is due to be released today – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Manning’s released is being marked with a ‘Toast to Freedom’ at Verona Bar & Café in Newton, New Zealand.

In Israel, Yonatan Shapira is dedicating a concert in Be’er Sheva to Manning .

There are other events planned in the Boston, Portland, Chicago (US), Dublin (Ireland), Reykjavik (Iceland) and Manchester (UK).

Checkpoint Chelsea

In Berlin, a street artist has posted an image of Chelsea Branning at the famous Checkpoint Charlie at the old east/west Berlin border. Instagrammer Stephen Lowman told GSN he spotted the poster on his way to work this morning.

The poster features an old image of Manning before she publicly revealed herself as transgender. Manning uses a similarly old, pre-transition image on her Twitter account.

There will be a screening later today of the film 6 Years to Free Chelsea at the Prisoners of Dissent event in the city.

#chelseamanning at Checkpoint Charlie #berlin

A post shared by Stephen Lowman (@stephenlowman) on

In London, there will be a vigil outside St Martin’s-In-The-Fields church near Trafalgar Square at 5.30pm.

In San Francisco, there will be a rally at Harvey Milk Plaza between 6-7pm.

Many of the events have been coordinated and supported by campaign groups Queer Strike and Pay Day Men’s Network – including the event in London this evening.

A spokesperson for Queer Strike told GSN in a statement, ‘We are delighted that today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Chelsea Manning is finally free after seven long years of torture and abuse in prison for exposing US government and other countries’ war crimes and corruption.

‘Whistleblowers defend us and we have a responsibility to defend them.

‘We are looking forward to being on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square today … Our sisters and brothers in QS and Payday in the US are taking action in San Francisco and Philadelphia.’

As well as physical events, others are celebrating the release of Chelsea Manning on social media.

Chelsea Manning is finally getting her freedom after 7 years in jail. #freeatlast #chelseamanning #freedomofspeech #humanrights

A post shared by Mary Lou 🐼Vegan 🍒 (@fallingintograce) on

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