Supporters of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden on Saturday projected thousands of messages calling for his pardon onto the Washington, D.C. museum dedicated to freedom of expression and information.
In a display the Guardian described as “audacious,” nearly 4,000 messages and images urging President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden were beamed onto the outside wall of the Newseum, an institution that promotes free expression and tracks the evolution of the press—just two miles away from the White House.
“Edward Snowden acted with courage and a heartfelt desire to improve the country and the world. Because of his actions we are and will become a more conscious, more caring people,” read one message from a supporter named Devin.
“Thank you for the exceptional sacrifice you made. I hope and pray you get [to] come home and continue to serve conscientiously for the citizens of this modern world,” read another, from Dani.
“You were willing to sacrifice yourself for the people of this nation to know the truth, and for that, we are deeply, profoundly thankful,” from Amanda.
Frank: “True patriotism: speaking up when your government loses its moral compass.”
Tess: “Ed, I’m on your side. You’re a hero and an example of what it means to be an American. Thank you for making such an incredible sacrifice in order that we might move a bit more toward the truth.”
Casey: “I’m a 69-year-old vet and applaud your guts, we owe you lots and let’s hope you can come home to your family and friends.”
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Snowden currently faces charges under the Espionage Act for exposing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance operations against American citizens. He has been living in exile in Russia since leaking the information in 2013.
Saturday night’s action was organized by the group Pardon Snowden, which has increased the urgency of its message in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s startling victory. Trump’s pick for CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has called for Snowden to receive the death penalty.
The action was also scheduled to correspond with International Human Rights Day on December 10.
“These expressions of support for Snowden celebrate his decision to shed light on a surveillance apparatus so invasive and bloated with secrets that it became a risk to democratic accountability,” the group wrote in a press release. “Thanks to his act of conscience, we’ve seen historic reforms and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting that is a model for the kind of adversarial journalism that we should expect from our media.”
Noa Yachot, the campaign’s director, told the Guardian that Snowden’s work with journalists “enabled the release of information into the public domain.”
“It showed that we need a strong and adversarial media, working with whistleblowers, to inform the public about what the government is doing without anyone’s knowledge,” she said.
“There are only six weeks left, but we know that controversial pardons often come at the end of a president’s term, so we are still hoping,” she said.
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