WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday said he was grateful to Ecuador President Rafael Correa for granting him political asylum after taking refuge for nearly two months in the country's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Assange said in a statement: "I am grateful to the Ecuadorian people, President Rafael Correa and his government. It was not Britain or my home country, Australia, that stood up to protect me from persecution, but a courageous, independent Latin American nation".
Assange termed the asylum as a "historic victory", but acknowledged that there were plenty of "struggles" ahead.
He demanded that the "unprecedented" US investigation against WikiLeaks be stopped.
"While today much of the focus will be on the decision of the Ecuadorian government, it is just as important that we remember Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for over 800 days".
Manning is accused of leaking secret US documents to WikiLeaks, which published it online.
Assange said the task of protecting WikiLeaks, its staff, its supporters and its alleged sources continues.