Nearly five hundred cities across the world were flooded with protesters on Wednesday, in what has been dubbed the “Million Mask March.”
From London to Washington, demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks protested against what they see as government excesses, such as mass surveillance and economic austerity.
Many of the marches prominently featured expressions of solidarity with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
“Priority #1 is to free whistleblowers to defend our right to the truth,” Anonymous march organizers said in a statement posted online.
“Let us make a difference this November 5th by calling for the freedom of Julian Assange who is the chief editor of the #1 whistleblowing web site in the world: WikiLeaks,” they stated.
The global event was called by the loosely organized hactivist movement Anonymous.
“More and more people have been turning up every year so hopefully it will keep growing and growing until there will be change. There is one solution, revolution,” protester Steve Foster told the UK's Guardian newspaper during the march in London.
As the protest continued into the evening, according to RT the mood became more “heated.” At least five people were arrested during scuffles with police. In Washington, hundreds of mask-clad protesters marched on government sites, according to Reuters.
Across the globe, the marches were planned to coincide with Guy Fawkes Day.
The date commemorates the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow-up the House of Lords in Britain in 1605.
“In 2014, we will once again march on the Houses of Parliament in London, as will we in 2015, leading up to 2016 when November 5th falls on a Saturday!” UK members of Anonymous stated online.
“The standard has now been set, next year we will have bigger banners, louder voices, more fireworks, more people and a louder sound system!” They stated.