Speaking from the balcony, he told the waiting crowd the US had to decide whether it stayed true to its founding principles or create a 'dangerous and oppressive world' for journalists. He thanked Ecuador's President Rafael Correa for granting him asylum, a move backed by other Latin American states this week.
HOW I SEE IT - Mark Lyons, Head of corporate, The Red Consultancy
In the most eagerly awaited balcony appearance since Wills and Kate, Julian Assange, asylum seeker and bail jumper, addressed the world from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He called on President Obama to call off the witch-hunt against Wikileaks and release Bradley Manning, who has spent more than 800 days in jail without a trial. Serious points were made but delivered, at times, in a hesitant, unsure, hectoring manner. He said: 'I am here because I can't be there,' meaning across the road with supporters, rather than in court facing rape and molestation allegations.
Instead of galvanizing wider support for this new age of radical digital transparency, it left many asking why Assange is unable to be transparent about himself and confused about his real motives.