A controversial talk by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Cambridge University has been cancelled due to "technical issues".
Assange was due to speak on a topic yet to be revealed followed by a question-and-answer session at the Cambridge Union Society debating platform next Tuesday.
He had planned to appear over videolink from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he is seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.
The union's Women's Campaign had launched a petition and was planning to protest outside the society, saying Assange's invitation was "an insult to survivors of rape".
On Tuesday, in an email to members, the union's secretary, Suyin Chalmin-Pui, said: "We would like to inform you that Mr Assange has cancelled the Q&A scheduled for November 27 due to technical issues with the videolink equipment."
According to the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity, the union posted on its Facebook event "because the Embassy does not have a strong internet connection, the only way to produce the live 2-way video feed was by relying on broadcast vans.
"The broadcast agency scheduled to handle the feed is no longer able to, and no other broadcast agencies with the capability have the equipment available on the 27th."
Women's officer Susy Langsdale had called on the union to retract its invitation to Assange. A petition on change.org calling on the university union to revoke the invitation has almost 1,000 signatures.
She said: "We are delighted that the union has cancelled Julian Assange coming to speak.
"We are, however, particularly amused by their suggestion that the founder of WikiLeaks had to cancel a week in advance for technical reasons.
"We are disappointed that the union has not had the intellectual honesty to admit the real reasons for this disinvitation."
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