Every year, the City of London is one of many in Great Britain that celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, with Bonfire Night being one of the most anticipated annual festivities. This year, however, on November 5, the event will be interrupted by protestors of the Million Mask March movement, which also takes place every year.
The London Evening Standard has confirmed that thousands of individuals donning V for Vendetta masks will descend upon Trafalgar Square and Westminster come Saturday, to show their support for internet activist group Anonymous. Police have reportedly urged them to cooperate with law enforcement in order to ensure a safe night for all, which has not always been the case when it comes to the Million Mask March.
In 2015, a peaceful protest turned violent and led to 50 arrests, after three policeman were injured with one of them being thrown from a horse. The Metropolitan Police posted an update to their official Twitter account in the early morning of November 1, confirming that protestors would be attending the event and putting out a call for organizers to work with police to prevent the 2016 Guy Fawkes Day from becoming like the last. They have also asked leaders to contact Metro PD in order to arrange some kind of plan, with the group not having responded at this time.
In a separate post, which was uploaded on the official Facebook page of the Million Mask March, they did not confirm whether they will comply with officials’ wishes when they arrive in central London. In fact, the seriousness of their statement has many worried that things will once again take a turn for the worst. In the lengthy announcement, activists called out the alleged “abuses and malpractice” of the nation’s government, which they say includes the mistreatment of elderly people, migrants, the poor and the disabled. They invite all of their followers, whether they be students, workers, or activists themselves, to attend the protest in London, where demonstrations will begin at 6 p.m. in Trafalgar Square, an hour before the march starts.
The group aims to raise awareness regarding the “capital, profit and greed of the few put before the well-being of the many,” in their Facebook post going on to say that the government and the one percent has played their hand, and now it is time for activists to show their side of things. Demonstrations like this, they insist, are the only way that a positive change will be seen around the world when it comes to these matters. Anonymous has also accused government leaders of taking away many civil liberties and freedoms regular members of the public hold dear, as well as pushing to make the internet “yet another part of the surveillance state.”
By Lorelai Zelmerlow