Ecuador’s decision to allow police to arrest Julian Assange inside its embassy on Thursday follows a fraught and acrimonious period in which relations between the government in Quito and the WikiLeaks founder became increasingly hostile – and eventually broke down.
The country’s president, Lenín Moreno, had made little secret of his desire to evict Assange from the embassy building in Knightsbridge, west London, where he had lived since June 2012. Moreno has variously described Assange as a “hacker”, an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe”.
In a video address on Thursday, Moreno expressed his frustration and irritation with Assange. “The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange,” he said.