Washington, DC — Despite a steady cold drizzle, nearly a hundred Million Mask March diehards returned for the annual November 5th tribute march to Guy Fawkes. There were far fewer Anonymous members attending this year than in the past five years that the gathering has taken place in Washington, DC.
The Fifth of November is celebrated across Europe on the date of the Gunpowder Rebellion of 1605. On that day, Guy Fawkes and co-conspirators were to be hanged for their role in the plot to blow up the House of Lords, but legend has it that he committed suicide by jumping off the gallows before the sentence could be carried out.
The hacktivist group Anonymous has chosen this day as its annual pilgrimage to major cities across the U.S. and Europe and as a platform to showcase grievances including government corruption, corporate greed, monetary policies, police oppression, surveillance, and many other issues.
Anons began their day long march early Sunday morning at the Washington Monument with a long list of issues. Several spoke before the march began.
One Anon railed against the administration and its seemingly endless involvement in controversy after controversy. Another Anon from Vermont focused on the mass die-off of species and the deteriorating environment.
Yet another Anon, who identified as a veteran hardened by two deployments to Afghanistan, said he was glad that Trump had been elected and even boasted about having voted for him. “He’s the ultimate troll, and he’s trolling the entire American public,” he said. “He trolled his way into the White House and that’s legendary. May he burn down the entire system as it needs to be burned down!” he said.
Another Anon spoke about Trump as the rise of the dictator capitalist. “It’s a clear sign that money can by anything, and it shouldn’t be that way,” he said. “Ideas should rule. We were [founded] on ‘for the people, by the people,’ but it has since degraded to ‘for the corporations, by the corporations.’”
Just before the group embarked on their march, a U.S. Park Police officer approached and wished them a good morning. Once he had their attention, he said, “I don’t mind you exercising your First Amendment rights, but please take your trash with you.” They promised to oblige, and the officer left.
They unceremoniously walked towards the White House while DC police blocked traffic. Tourists and onlookers were awed by the odd array of masks and protesters as the spectacle passed. Children of a school tourist group took photos and tried to understand why they were protesting.
Once the group arrived at the White House, they gathered around the Peace Vigil for photos. Several gave complimentary donations to Philipos Melaku-Bello for continuing the Vigil from previous years.
They shouted towards the the White House through bullhorns, calling for impeachment of the president. Their colorful language was critical of Administration policies that appear to be pitting citizens against each other.
Soon after, a group of Christians arrived at the White House carrying a display called the “Stolen Lives Quilt.” The banners depicted their family members who had been killed by immigrants driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Several of the Anons yelled at them because of their anti-immigrant stance, while other Anons offered support to the protesters because of the deaths of their family members. The confrontation lasted until one of the Anons rebuked others for lacking compassion. She hugged the Christians and offered apologies and compassion.
Soon the group left for the Capitol, passing by the Trump International Hotel, the Department of Justice and other government offices.
At one point, an impatient driver in a red SUV blew his horn as he approached and tried to pass the group near 7th Street. A DC motorcycle policeman cut him off and told him to calm down before he hurt someone.
There were no major incidents or arrests reported and the protest eventually fizzled out by 5 pm as the dank cold afternoon came to a close.