Around the world, Anonymous protestors demonstrated in the streets for its annual “Million Mask March.”
The New York Daily News reports protestors from 600 cities took part in the long-awaited event to protest against censorship, corruption, war and poverty. DC, Los Angeles and Denver were some of the most notable protest cities in the US. Those behind the march emphasized that they wanted to make a statement to governments about the power of “the free flow of information.”
In a promotional video for the protest, the group stated:
“We now face a dilemma unfamiliar to any previous human civilization, we face this dilemma not simply as a community, nor a nation; rather collectively as a planet.
“We have something no previous generation has ever had, the internet.”
The largest protest popped up as far as Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and Germany. London was a particularly violent scene, as fireworks were flung at police officers; three were injured with a cop car that went down in flames. Over 50 were arrested, three of which were charged for illegally bearing arms.
Smoke filled the air and knives, smoke, paint grenades, gas canisters and lock picks littered streets. London may have been one of the most rowdy scenes last night compared to other cities because it is also the scene for the UK’s Bonfire Night, a long-held holiday celebrating the capture of Catholic revolutionary Guy Fawkes.
Fawkes is a prominent historical figure in England because he tried to launch an explosion on the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Anonymous later adopted the image of Guy Fawkes for its branding after the Fawkes mask became a villainous cultural icon in the 1988 graphic novel turned film, V for Vendetta.
Yesterday, Anonymous also followed through on its promise to release hundreds of names it’s claiming to have ties with the KKK on Pastebin.
The opening essay in the list is admittedly eloquent and thoughtful, expressing the group’s interests in recognizing the humanity of the “real people underneath the hoods” while holding the KKK accountable for spreading hate:
We defend free thought and free speech. The anons responsible for this operation will not support *acts* of terrorism and *acts* of hate inflicted upon the public. The KKK is part of an important cultural landscape and history in the United States.
We need to make room for important, blunt, honest, public, productive conversation. Violent bigotry IS a problem in the United States. This is not a colorblind society. It deeply divided on racial lines.
Anonymous marks throughout the list which ones are aliases, and organizers suspect that there are fake names included in their database. Vice has already noted an error on the list, as Anonymous mistakenly included Washington Post political cartoonist Ben Garrison. This doxing also virtually only included links to people’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts, many of which have now been deleted.
Experts argue that Anonymous’ list is still impossible to verify, particularly because KKK groups’ use of the Internet to keep with users is often limited. This is in part to protect members’ privacy, but also because many online services like PayPal prohibit hate groups from making accounts.