"Why is he in jail for telling the truth?"
About 20 people gathered outside the old Albury courthouse to share their disquiet and even disgust over the continued imprisonment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The journalist's father John Shipton visited the Border on Wednesday as part of the Home Run for Julian tour that began in Melbourne and includes Sydney, Canberra and regional centres.
Helen Foster and Jenny Doxey travelled from Benalla, bringing their own signs, to show their support for Assange, now held in an English jail and awaiting the outcome of an appeal by the US against a judge's decision not to permit his extradition.
"Why are we persecuting a whistleblower?" Ms Foster said.
"He's a journalist, he's got a Walkley award, he should be back here (in Australia), because otherwise we stop free speech, don't we?"
Albury councillor David Thurley, speaking on his own behalf, not council's, said Assange was suffering a "terrible injustice" and the Australian government wasn't doing enough to help him.
"We need to be making representations to the US government and the British government," he said.
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"If he ends up in the United States that would be a disaster.
"There's too much secrecy and we need to be more open and fair about stuff."
John Hengstmengel, of Albury, said he was "really disgusted" by the Australian government's attitude.
"At least get him back to Australia, he is an Australian citizen," he said.
"I'd hate to be locked up and knowing the Australians probably won't do anything about me."
Lloyd O'Keefe, of Thurgoona, and Albury's David Bland said Assange had been exposing the truth and helping to hold governments to account.
"If he's not being charged he should be let go," Mr O'Keefe added.
Sandy Creek resident David Macilwain felt Assange was being held a prisoner because governments didn't want his information to be considered credible.
"(He) has to be restricted and debased and portrayed as a hacker and criminal," he said.
Mr Shipton said the Home Run for Julian tour aimed to thank people for their support and try to build the momentum for change.
"To continue to push up into Canberra until the government realises that this is a terrible mess and also an imposition on an individual who's made a solid contribution to journalism," he said.
"Just discuss things with friends, that's enough, because that's how we generate understanding amongst ourselves and then contact the local member, it works."
Melbourne 4 Wikileaks convener Jacob Grech, who introduced Mr Shipton on Dean Street, said previous situations had proven the federal government could advocate successfully for citizens jailed overseas.
"It isn't just about bringing one Australian home, it's about saying this is what happens when you start telling the truth and exposing the lies and corruption," he said.
"We need to show the government that they need to grow some political will and go to England, go to the United States.
"This government needs to intercede with the new administration in the US and say, 'He's one of ours, bring him here'."
Mr Shipton said he had spoken to his son from beside the Murray River on Tuesday night.
"He said, 'Is that crickets, can I hear crickets?', he hasn't heard a cricket in 10 years.
"(I just) take things as they come towards me and do my best."
One older couple attended the rally just long enough to collect a pamphlet and meet Mr Shipton.
"Are you his dad?" the man asked.
"Congratulations, you've done a good job.
"I wish him all the best, hope he gets back."
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