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WikiLeaks' Assange marks 3 years inside embassy; police say operation has cost $17.6 million

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LONDON — Julian Assange marked three years inside Ecuador's London embassy Friday, still facing arrest should he ever step outside.

The WikiLeaks founder entered the building on June 19, 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sexual assaults.

British police stand outside the diplomatic mission, ready to detain him if he leaves. London's Metropolitan Police says the round-the-clock operation has cost 11.1 million pounds ($17.6 million) through April.

PHOTO: Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold placards during a vigil across the street from the Ecuador embassy in London, Friday, June 19, 2015.  Julian Assange is marking the third anniversary of his stay inside Ecuador's London embassy. The WikiLeaks founder entered the building on June 19, 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sexual assaults. British police stand outside, ready to arrest him if he leaves. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold placards during a vigil across the street from the Ecuador embassy in London, Friday, June 19, 2015. Julian Assange is marking the third anniversary of his stay inside Ecuador's London embassy. The WikiLeaks founder entered the building on June 19, 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sexual assaults. British police stand outside, ready to arrest him if he leaves. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Sweden wants to question Assange over alleged rape, sexual molestation and coercion involving two Swedish women he met in 2010. Assange denies the allegations and believes extradition to Sweden is merely the first step in efforts to bring him to the U.S. over WikiLeaks' secret-spilling activities.

The diplomatic standoff continues. Swedish prosecutors have said they are willing to come to London to interview Assange at the embassy in June or July, although Assange accuses them of making and breaking an appointment.

Assange supporters rallied Friday outside the embassy, a modest apartment near the Harrods department store. One supporter held up a sign with a drawing of Assange and the words "at the frontline of the truth."

WikiLeaks and Assange angered the U.S. government by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

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