Million mask march: How Guy Fawkes became the global face of modern protest

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, disinfonauts: This year Britain’s annual fireworks and bonfire celebration in the name of Guy Fawkes also marks the “Million Mask March.”

We Are Anonymous Sydney 2014

DW looks at how the Guy Fawkes mask has become the defining image of modern protest:

As night falls across the UK on November 5, thousands of families will be heading out to their nearest park to enjoy the local bonfire and fireworks display, whilst likely tucking into some bonfire specialities such as Parkin or toffee apples.

The British tradition marks the day in 1605 when Catholic would-be terrorist Guy Fawkes was arrested after attempting to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Houses of Parliament in London.

On the same night, in cities both in the UK and around the world, thousands of people are also due to take to the streets for the global “Million Mask March” and don their “Guy Fawkes” masks – a pale bearded face, made famous by Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s 1980s graphic novel “V for Vendetta” and the 2006 Warner Bros. film of the same name.


In the last scene of the film, a crowd of citizens – fighting against a dystopian fascist authoritarian state – watch the British Houses of Parliament explode while wearing their “Guy Fawkes” masks.

Illustrator of “V for Vendetta,” David Lloyd, previously described the mask as a “convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny … it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

For the fourth consecutive year, “Anonymous” – which describes itself as “a truth advocating hacktivism as self-defense for unconstitutional government – have called on citizens worldwide to protest against authoritarianism, austerity and mass surveillance.

Last year, marches were seen as far apart as China, Germany, Australia, Sweden and the US.

Power of popular culture

So how is it that more than four centuries later, Guy Fawkes has become the face of political anarchists?…

[continues at DW]


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