Tough public order restrictions to be deployed on Bonfire night protest in London as police fear a repeat of last year’s unrest.
Words: Mariya Savova, Subeditor: Natalia Branco
Scotland Yard is to deploy thousands of extra police officers over fear that the annual Million Mask March, led by the hacktivist group Anonymous, planned for Thursday evening, will turn violent.
Last year London was the scene of one of the largest rallies. People gathered in Parliament Square and later made their way in groups towards other locations including Buckingham Palace and the BBC’s central London studios. Five people were arrested after scuffles broke out between protesters and police.
The Metropolitan Police is fearing that this could happen again. In a statement, the Met said a “significant policing operation” would be in place for tomorrow’s protest, including “dedicated teams of highly flexible officers on standby at key locations in the capital.”
Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills even believes protesters might plan to damage public monuments, attack police officers and try to occupy buildings.
Demonstrations on this 5 November will be held under the motto “building a better future through collective action” and will oppose proposals to increase powers of the security services. The Anonymous have urged people to gather at Trafalgar Square from 6pm. However, under restrictions imposed by the Public Order Act, protests and demonstrations are banned after 9pm, so the march is expected to finish by then.
Anonymous million mask March 2015 join us https://t.co/T2Mwa410Zu
— MMM London (@MMM_London) October 23, 2015
The Million Mask March is an event, held in more than 600 cities in the world and, according to its website, it is the “world’s largest protest.” It is organised by Anonymous, the anarchic hacktivist network linked with cyber attacks against multi-national corporations, such as Visa and PayPal; governments; child porn websites; defenders of media copyright and many more. The movement is also closely identified with the Occupy protests, the Arab Spring and WikiLeaks. The collective has coordinated the Million Mask March with thousands of participants since 2012.
Voice of London’s news team will be on the scene at Trafalgar Square tomorrow. Follow us on Twitter for updates.