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Protests In Latin American Cities Over Jailing Of Assange

It appears that Julian Assange has some friends in Latin America.

Demonstrations are planned Saturday to protest the detention of the founder of WikiLeaks and the closing of the secret-spilling website's Swiss bank account.

The Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks says protests are to be held in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and three other Spanish cities. It also says demonstrations are planned Saturday in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in the capital cities of Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru, as well as in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory," the organization said on the website. It urged protesters to gather at 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) in Spanish cities.

Assange remains in a U.K. jail ahead of a Dec. 14 hearing where he plans to fight Sweden's request to extradite him to face sex crimes allegations there.

One of his lawyers denied media reports that Assange was being held in isolation at Wandsworth Prison in London.

"He told me he had single cell," Mark Stephens said. "He has the ability to watch TV with other prisoners -- which he doesn't do because he hates daytime telly. He takes his meals with other prisoners."

Stephens said lawyers met with Assange at the prison for an hour on Thursday to prepare for next week's hearing.

The Free WikiLeaks website also calls for "the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks (wikileaks.org) Internet domain," and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the "freedom to move money" because no one has "proved Assange's guilt," or charged WikiLeaks with any crime.

Many U.S.-based Internet companies have cut their ties to WikiLeaks, including MasterCard Inc., Visa Inc., Amazon.com, PayPal Inc. and EveryDNS. Those moves have hurt WikiLeaks' ability to accept donations and support publishing efforts.

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