The ‘V for Vendetta’ mobs sparking chaos on Bonfire Night: How protesters don Guy Fawkes masks and stir up trouble on November 5 in annual night of mayhem inspired by ‘hacktivists’ Anonymous
Bonfire Night brought chaos to the streets of Britain once again this year, with mobs flinging petrol bombs at police officers, shooting fireworks at homes and setting bins on streets alight.
In Edinburgh around 100 youths clashed with riot police who had fireworks hit their shields, while in Greater Manchester firefighters sent to put out burning bins had bricks thrown at them.
While much of the chaos on November 5 was caused by pockets of unruly youngsters up and down the country, in some cities the autumnal festivities are marred by protesters donning Guy Fawkes masks as part of the annual Million Mask March.
Yesterday, the march – inspired by the 2005 film V for Vendetta – saw the angry demonstrations spill onto the streets of the capital and clash with police officers.
The demonstration – also known as Operation Vendetta – is spearheaded by the hacking group Anonymous, the protests cover a wide range of issues often calling out government corruption, capitalist greed or a crackdown on civil freedoms.
Throughout the pandemic the group protested against coronavirus restrictions, burning an effigy of the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In 2017, the group called to keep then President Donald Trump out of the UK with an American flag being set alight.
A group of demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes-style masks walk through central London as part of the Million Mask March
Rioting in Niddrie, Edinburgh, last night saw police head out with shields and batons to stop the chaos
A protester at the Million Mask March in London this evening is shoved to the floor
Last night the Metropolitan Police made one arrest after an individual was found with an offensive weapon. One masked protester was photographed being shoved to the ground by a group of police officers.
The individual arrest was nothing compared with the 2020 march which saw 104 arrests – mainly because of breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
Amongst those breaking lockdown rules to stand in the crowd was Piers Corbyn – the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – despite being fined £10,000 previously for taking part in a law-breaking protest.
This year protesters held signs appearing to call out Johnson’s Government for breaking their own Covid-19 rules – as an inquiry continues to probe the handling of the pandemic.
One read: ‘Who protects the people when the Government breaks the law?’
Another cloaked demonstrator held a sign with a Palestinian flag sketched on, seeming to refer to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
It read: ‘Our Government support state sanctioned murder. They have money for war but not the poor revolution.’ Others called out the ongoing cost-of-living crisis across the UK.
Just as those descending on the streets keep their identities hidden, so do the march organisers.
The Metropolitan Police said one person was arrested following the Million Mask March last night
Every year on November 5 the protest throughout the city is held as part of Anonymous’ Million Mask March
Anonymous began in the mid-2000s creating a global network of hackers and activists, often calling out governments and large oraganisations.
It is an international group of leftist libertarian activists devoted to the ideals of personal freedom and a society free of centralised power.
More than a decade after the march first started when the group took over Wall Street in New York in 2012, it is unclear who first created the first march.
Since then, the anti-government and anti-establishment protest has taken place in cities across the world, with the events in London and Washington DC being the most prominent.
Organisers of individual marches around the world also remain unknown.
The demonstration is chosen to take place on November 5 due to the historical significance of Guy Fawkes attempting to blow up the British Parliament in the Gunpower Plot. It has since been used as a symbol of protest and resistance.
In years gone by the protests have brought mayhem to the streets of London. In 2015 hundreds of the anarchists had to be held back by police outside Buckingham Palace as they aimed fireworks at horses and tried to dazzle them with laser pointers.
Meanwhile, another protester was filmed smashing up a flaming police car while others chucked cones at officers. The chaos in that particular protest came hours after the group warned ‘police are not your friends’.
A protester lies on the floor surrounded by police at the Million Mask March
Riot police in Niddrie in Edinburgh, Scotland last night
In 2017, Westminster was brought to a standstill chanting pro civil liberty and anti-establishment songs. Others shouted ‘Tory scum’ as they set off flares and fireworks near famous London landmarks like Trafalgar Square.
More recently the elusive group, which includes computer experts, last year declared a war against Vladimir Putin’s government as he launched his attack on Ukraine.
The group said in a short statement: ‘The Anonymous collective is officially in cyber war against the Russian government.’
Less than 30 minutes later, the group said it had taken down the website of Kremlin-backed TV channel RT – which previously ran in Britain.
Bonfire Night has increasingly become a night for chaos across the UK, with police being forced to head out in riot gear as fireworks are aimed at them.
In Manchester, a gang of 30 launched rockets at houses as riot police tried to stop the unrest, while in nearby Little Lever, firefighters were placed under attack by people throwing bricks at them as they tried to put out bin fires.
A spokesperson declared: ‘This is bang out of order – our teams work tirelessly to protect others, they do not come to work to be attacked.’
In Niddrie, Edinburgh, make shift bombs were said to have been chucked at authorities with shocking footage on social media showing the officers protecting themselves from the thugs with riot shields.
In Kirkton, Dundee, there were also a number of violent clashes after police were called to deal with illegal bonfires.
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