On Wednesday, thousands gathered around Washington DC donning Guy Fawkes masks to participate in the annual 2014 Million Masks March. Protestors took to the streets in cities all over the world to participate in this event, organized loosely by the decentralized group Anonymous, a “a truth movement advocating hacktivism as self-defense for unconstitutional government.”
Before the beginning of march, several protesters affiliated with the march as well as other environmental causes blockaded the entrance to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) so that employees could not get in. Protesters were given three warnings to disperse before arrests occurred, and one officer quite notably remarked that “anyone who backs up is going to jail for assault,” implying that if the back of a protester were to touch an officer, it would constitute and assault charge.
John Foltz, a participant in the “Million Mask March” was stopped early on by police for openly carrying a large knife. When searched, they found a second knife. It is unclear exactly what he was charged with but he was arrested, attracting the attention of several protesters. When he inspired them to chant, he was immediately pulled away.
Some protesters took a detour at the FBI building, where they attempted to go through the revolving doors, which were held back only manually by officers on the other side. The agents came outside to block the doors, one of which threatened the crowd with pepper spray. Eventually the crowd dispersed after the officers rejected free masks.
After traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue, participants descended on the capitol building. Tensions were high from the start as the instruction to stay on sidewalks was not followed. Within minutes, an officer can be heard on camera commanding the officers to get out their pepper spray. Moments later, the barricade is pulled down and one protester is arrested for trespassing when he goes onto capitol grounds.
In an odd deviation from their original march plan, many of the protesters made a detour and walked through a tunnel filled with unexpected traffic.
Here is an incident in which a protester had a scuffle with a police officer, which ended up with him being tased onto the ground. A friend of his then tried to get away, and was also tased, but he managed to escape the taser and sprint across the street before officers on foot and from a vehicle were able to surround him.
Protesting the presence of GMOs in their food, the Million Mask March made a late stop in the Monsanto DC office, where an employee tried to kick them out. When an officer came, protesters mocked his attempts to repel them.
Filmed by Ford Fischer, Trey Yingst, and Alejandro Alvarez
Photos by Taylor Kinzler, Joanna Sobieski, Trey Yingst, and Alejandro Alvarez