Members and supporters of hacktivist collective Anonymous are marking Guy Fawkes Day with a global ‘Million Mask March’ to protest against government corruption, corporate malfeasance and the expanding surveillance state.
The global action on November 5 coincides with Guy Fawkes Day, which is celebrated by Britain with fireworks to remind of the botched attempt to blow up the Parliament in 1605. But the image of the notorious plotter has a new meaning for Anonymous and their supporters today. The Guy Fawkes mask was adopted by the hacker activists from the V for Vendetta graphic novel and film as a symbol of the anarchic fight against tyranny.
Cities in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have already started their local events. Activists in Europe and US are expected to join soon. Event organizers have planned rallies and marches at 450 locationsaround the world, although the majority of the events have thus far attracted between several dozen people or a couple of hundred people.
On the website for London’s OpVendetta event, an administrator wrote, “Anonymous have changed the rules by turning this morality of petition into more of a festival of ideas and new age discussion that has formed the political views of the youth of today. Anonymous understand now that we have filled the void in the protest world that others have failed Anonymous have managed to hold on to the system of having no system which allows everyone’s beliefs to join the great debate.”
The US capital Washington is expected to hold a massive ‘Million Mask March’ event.
“To remind this world what it has forgotten, that fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words,”is the stated aim, according to the gathering’s Facebook page. The rally is scheduled to involve a meet-up near the Washington Monument that will then involve a march up the street to the nearby White House.
Often described in the media as a loose-knit collective, Anonymous was propelled to public prominence over the last years for a series of politically-motivated cyber-attacks on businesses and government institutions. Groups calling themselves by that name targeted entertainment industry, financial institutions, websites of governments from Latin America to Asia and international organizations.
The current agenda of the people behind Tuesday’s protest is wide-ranging. Some are protesting whatever crimes their local governments committed. Others take on global goals, like stopping the mass digital surveillance by the US National Security Agency and its allies, or the advance of genetically modified food championed by Monsanto and similar companies. The movement is apparently growing in strength.
“We are not slowing down, we are speeding up,” John Anthony Fairhurst, one of the organizers of the Million Mask March in Washington, DC, told RT. “These people all over the world need some serious change.”
#MillionMaskMarch: Anonymous supporters rally worldwide to protest corruption, police state
As a worldwide movement, Anonymous-at-large has in the past rallied in support of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and Army soldier-turned-whistleblower Chelsea Manning. They supported Arab Spring anti-dictatorship protesters in the Middle East as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in New York City two years ago, but has since spread across the world as a means of addressing the overt, allegedly corrupt ties between corporations and the authorities.