Hundreds of riot police were on stand-by tonight for a bonfire night protest in central London, the million mask march by the activist group Anonymous.
Masked protesters are threatening to blockade the city and march on the Houses of Parliament in a demonstration called the Million Mask March, reports the London Evening Standard
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The protest, which is being organised in hundreds of cities around the world, is said to be against mass surveillance, austerity and infringement of human rights.
The event has become associated with protesters donning the sinister Guy Fawkes mask made famous by the 2005 film V for Vendetta.
Scotland Yard has issued a public appeal to Anonymous organisers to work with them but without success.
(Chain link fences were set up at Parliament today Picture: Jeremy Selwyn)
Last year more than 2,000 people attended the event but police fear this year’s march could attract a higher turn-out.
Officers from the Met, British Transport Police and the City of London force will be on duty with hundreds more on stand-by in case of trouble.
Comic Russell Brand joined last year’s demo which saw fireworks thrown at Buckingham Palace and a total of 15 people arrested.
Protesters were aiming to march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square.
A message on the UK Anonymous website reads: “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!
“The standard has now been set, next year we will have bigger banners, louder voices, more fireworks, more people and a louder sound system!”
It also calls for a “MASSIVE Anonymous blockade of London City. Complete physical GRIDLOCK. Only thing that gets through are Fire & Rescue and ambulances. NOTHING ELSE MOVES.”
An online video by the protest group shows the Houses of Parliament from the river with the message to the “UK government” saying : “We pose a significant threat to you.”
(Precautions: armed police at parliament today.)
Police have obtained a Section 60 AA power which allows officers to order protesters to remove masks.
The Met now has water cannon available to deal with protests but the weapon is still waiting for Home Office approval.
Scotland Yard re-iterated appeals to the organisers to contact them.
A spokeswoman said: “We have tried to make contact with groups who we believed may consider attending, but so far without success.
“We want to engage with these groups so that we can work together to ensure they can protest safely whilst making sure that serious disruption to the life of the community is avoided.”
Report By the London Evening Standard
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