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35 held at WikiLeaks detention demo

Hundreds of people wearing T-shirts and carrying signs bearing the smiling image of US army private Bradley Manning have rallied outside the base where he is being detained on charges of providing classified data to Wikileaks.

About 35 people were arrested by police in riot gear after they refused to vacate a road junction in front of the entrance to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

The rally was held along with more than two dozen others around the world to protest against Pte Manning's detention in Quantico, where he is held alone in his cell for all but an hour a day.

His lawyer has repeatedly complained that Pte Manning's strict confinement conditions are punitive, a charge the military has denied.

The military maintains Pte Manning's treatment complies with US law and military regulations, and it has said some of the conditions are needed to prevent him from harming himself.

He faces nearly two dozen charges, including aiding the enemy, a crime which carries the death penalty or life in prison. Army prosecutors, however, have told Pte Manning's lawyers that they will not recommend the death penalty.

David House, a friend who has visited Pte Manning about 15 times since September, told the protesters that he appreciated their support.

"It's stuff like this that gives Bradley hope," Mr House said. "When I go in there, look him in the eyes and say 'Bradley, there are people on the outside that support you', his eyes light up."

Daniel Ellsberg, a Manning supporter who leaked the so-called Pentagon Papers in 1971, was one of the protesters arrested.

Officers handcuffed some protesters and led them away after they refused to leave US Route 1 in front of the base. Short scuffles ensued as dozens of officers attempted to push the protesters, some of whom were seated on the pavement, away from the junction. Many sat underneath a yellow banner which read "Caution: Whistleblower Torture Zone".


From Belfast Telegraph