After calling for mass protests against Scientology in its videos a few weeks ago, did online collective Anonymous have any effect on the world? Well, around 500 people showed up to protest in both London and Los Angeles, with hundreds more in other cities. The majority of protesters in London wore striking Guy Fawkes masks like in the film ‘V for Vendetta’. Protests appear to have been peaceful and in good spirits – eyewitnesses talk of lots of shouting of internet memes such as ‘The Cake Is A Lie’ from video game ‘Portal’, and little to no problems with police. Overall an estimated 7000 people in 100 cities across the world protested against alleged human rights abuses by the church.
It’s fascinating to see that many of the protesters were in their teens and twenties. This, together with evidence of large youth turnout in the Democratic Presidential Primaries suggest that the internet is gradually starting to increase the participation of some young people with real world politics and protest, rather than diminishing it. And with Anonymous’ activities moving away from the legally murky waters of hacking towards peaceful protest, are we seeing a return of the protest-happy youth of the sixties, with the help of some www’s?