Friend of the Free Thought Project, ReAnna Ruiz documented the 8-hour-long Million Mask March on the 5th of November in Washington D.C. Her comprehensive coverage of the event will infuriate and inspire as protesters face off with rights-violating police, rooftop snipers, and an amazing young rapper and activist whose lyrics will leave you with chills.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — November 5th, 2015 – For the 4th consecutive year, Anonymous executed its global protest known as The Million Mask March. Countries such as Australia, England, Argentina, Canada participated in marches including an onslaught of others. The United States was among them with participation from every major city in the country, with D.C. getting the most notoriety as it the nation’s capital. To get the full extent of participating countries and cities all over the world, visit www.millionmaskmovement.com.
Topics of concern that were voiced by Anonymous protesters were mentioned as National Surveillance, Police Brutality, Genetically Modified Organisms, Foreign military engagements and a variety of other pertinent issues. Advocates in the crowd showed their devoted solidarity and camaraderie to defamed heroes such as Ed Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond and Chelsea Manning. Journalist Justin King was spotted with a sign spreading awareness about Raif Badawi, a brave man who is currently in custody and being tortured by the Saudi Arabian government.
Justin King, as well as many other influential mentors in the movement, spoke on the eve of the Million Mask March at a gathering in downtown D.C. at Parlay Lounge. Daniel Johnson also got on the mic during a Q&A to discuss protesting tactics. Lastly, the East Regional Leader of the Black Panthers and a representative of the Black Panthers Virginia Chapter, spoke to the crowd in support of the upcoming march. The Q&A portion of the gathering was followed by musical performances by Steve Grant and PTP.
The Million Mask March occurs annually on the 5th of November, and as expected, Anonymous had descended upon D.C. starting at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Protesters, activists and independent media gathered at the Washington Monument on Constitution for a meet-up before the march would begin. Ultimately, the large crowd of Anons had solid plans to visit the following locations: Washington Monument, White House, J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, Department of Health Services, IRS Headquarters, Capital Building, Department of Justice and the Monsanto Offices. Inevitably they would end up occupying tunnels, intersections, streets and parks as well.
Attendance reached anywhere from 300 to 400 at peak. It was a sizable turnout, and included a wide array of interesting, unique and diverse individuals from all over the country and all walks of life.
The presence of the protesters in the city generated a lot of attention. There were a few hundred protesters shouting with megaphones and walking peacefully in perfect unity for several hours. With this amount of attention, it is perplexing that there was absolutely no mainstream media coverage on the event. It was covered only by alternative media outlets such as We Are Change, Anti-Media, The Free Thought Project and The Fifth Column.
After gathering at the monument, the large crowd of protesters made their way to the White House. The peaceful crowd was greeted with barricades along the front gates, armed police, members of the D.C. swat team, K-9 unit with a dog on stand-by, snipers, and secret service on the White House rooftop.
While standing outside of the White House different activists took turns on the megaphone addressing the crowd of Anons as well as the snipers and secret service on the rooftop. One of the most outstanding and outspoken Anonymous supporters of the day was a 27 year-old activist from Philadelphia, Danielle Williams. She addressed the crowd, passersby and law enforcement on many occasions, and was interviewed by independent media stations such as HISPAN TV.
It was suspected from the start, that police and law enforcement were ordered by a “higher-up” to refrain from talking to the crowd of protesters, as none of them uttered a single word or accepted any peace offerings from the protesters such as masks, stickers and flowers. When they did speak, they would unlawfully order individuals to step off public property. Anons took every opportunity to educate civilians and passerbys, by shouting out pertinent facts about serious issues going on in the country, as the common American is completely unaware of crucial issues affecting not only our nation, but the world, due to mainstream media’s lack of coverage on those topics and viewpoints.
Upon leaving the White House, the Anons continued to walk through the streets stopping to educate the public and law enforcement as often as they could, when suddenly, some members of the group started to divert away from the march as they began to surround a homeless man. Soon the entire march came to an abrupt stop as the whole crowd walked over to shower the man with love, attention, encouragement, food, drinks and money.
Next stop was the Department of Health Services. The crowd closed in on the front doors of the building, trying desperately to speak with the security officers inside. At one point, a window was broken, but it was not done deliberately or out of violence. I was standing to the right of this man during the incident and can confirm that he was innocently drumming on the window in a rhythmic beat. This is typical at protests, especially during chants. Unfortunately, the windows and doors seemed to be very old and succumbed to the force and vibration.
After departing from that location, the Anonymous crowd moved through more streets and traffic, stopping next at the Internal Revenue Headquarters. There they educated the crowd in the middle of a busy area. Shortly after they descended back into the streets, a 10-year-old activist who goes by the name Young Scholar, got on the megaphone and started performing one of his songs. It was inspiring to everyone who was watching.
The Anons then headed over to the Department of Justice. The crowd put up their heads and began to chant “Hands up, Don’t Shoot.” Some individuals, both protesters and media stood on a piece of cement décor just outside the building as its elevation was advantageous for capturing quality video footage and pictures.
An officer, obviously ill-informed of the laws, started demanding that those standing on it must come down, and began to tap, smack and push people’s legs as a way to get them down. A journalist from Germany by the name of Dee Ree, who also happens to be a very defiant, devoted and well-respected activist, refused to get down and asserted her rights to the officer. The crowd surrounded her in support. I personally can be heard on the video footage of this incident demanding the officer to prove why she had to get down, as there is no such law that prohibits her from doing so. Once confronted on his illegitimate demands, the officer gave up and backed away, cheers of defeat came over the crowd.
The march then made its way to the Capital Building. The crowd was greeted just as they were at the White House, with barricades and law enforcement officers. Several protesters took turns addressing these particular officers, as the crowd became increasingly disgusted at the smiles the officers displayed when the crowd addressed them about the children that were being killed overseas as a result of our nation’s unnecessary involved in foreign military engagements.
Most people in the crowd found it extremely sick and disturbing that these officers were smiling when being confronted with that information. Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, turned whistleblower and activist, spoke to the officers directly, urging them to begin their research of government corruption immediately, even suggesting documentaries like “Inside Job.” Below is a video encounter with a Lieutenant outside the capital building. He is seen here ordering people down off public property that they were free to stand on. When he was asked to provide the law, ordinance or statute supporting his demand he was unable to do so and backed away.
The crowd then marched on to their next stop which was the J Edgar Hoover FBI Building, where most Anons took the opportunity to shout out words of support for Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond as well other journalists, activists and hackers currently incarcerated for their heroic hand in helping to blow the whistle. Across the way, other Anons had lined the ramp of the tunnel coming into downtown D.C., holding up signs and hanging Anonymous flags and flyers along the street poles so their message would be visible to vehicles and pedestrians passing by.
As the day began to wind down, the march headed to their last location before returning to the White House, Monsanto Headquarters. It was here that several protesters with vast knowledge of GMOs got on the megaphone to educate the crowd and the public on the continual harm Monsanto has done to the food industry, including the damage it causes to the human body after repeated consumption. In the midst of the protest, the American flag hanging outside the facility was taken down, and replaced with an Anonymous flag. Security and officers came outside out shortly thereafter and took it down.
After occupying the US capital and marching nearly 8 miles over the course of 7 to 8 hours, the Million Mask March made its way back to the White House. As they approached the front gates they could be heard shouting, “Obama, come out! We got some sh*t to talk about!” Several individuals shouted out a few last words to the toxic house of corruption that festers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. With Anonymous flags, banners and signs held high, the remaining crowd from the March took one last photo in front of the President’s home. Although most started to disperse afterwards, several Anons even continued protesting into the next day.
Certainly, it was an eventful day and a very triumphant one for those that came out to support the Million Mask March in DC. The main objective with this event was to spread awareness, precisely why it is executed worldwide. It is clear that Anonymous made its presence known and successfully educated an abundance of individuals and passersby, who otherwise, would not have been prompted to look into government corruption on their own. That sort of public attention and awareness after a protest can only be described as a complete success, in addition to the fact that there were absolutely no arrests.
Many protesters who spoke throughout the day and addressed the crowd, eluded to exploring even more powerful alternatives as a way to draw more awareness to the event and the issues surrounding it. There are obvious mutual agendas amongst many followers to up the ante for next year. Until then, we shall wait and see what Anonymous has in store for next year’s Million Mask March D.C.