November 07, 2011

Occupy Protestors Remembered the Fifth of November

“Remember, remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,” begins an old recitative rooted in British history.

About 200 protesters from the worldwide “Occupy” anti-capitalist movement marched to the British Parliament on Saturday, November 5, which is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. The holiday is the annual commemoration of the English revolutionary who tried to blow up the Parliament building in the seventeenth century, according to the Associated Press (News - Alert). Many of the London protestors wore Guy Fawkes masks and carried signs protesting bank and corporate greed.

The image of the blank, smiling, goateed mask of Guy Fawkes, originally used in the graphic novel and later the film version of “V for Vendetta,” has been adopted by both the hacktivist group Anonymous for many of its protests and now the “Occupy” movement of worldwide anti-capitalist greed demonstrations.

The AP reports that the London movement of protestors was peaceful, though the group was prevented from getting too close to the House of Parliament by a strong police presence.

Guy Fawkes Day has been celebrated each November 5 in the UK to commemorate the failed “Gunpowder Plot” by the Catholic Fawkes to blow up the British Parliament and the Protestant King James I in1605. Fawkes and 12 other conspirators loaded an under-chamber of the Parliament building with kegs of gunpowder, but they were apprehended before they could set the explosion. Traditional Guy Fawkes' nights in the UK involve throwing an effigy of Fawkes, his head stuffed with gunpowder, onto a bonfire as a celebration of King James' deliverance from assassination.

In recent years, however, Guy Fawkes has become something of a folk hero to the anti-capitalist, anti-government activist movement. The Fawkes mask has been seen on protesters at New York's Occupy Wall Street movement to similar, affiliated protests in Hong Kong. 

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell




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