Guy Fawkes masks, immortalised in the movie V for Vendetta, have become a global symbol of protest and anonymity through the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Arab Spring.
At the top of Reddit today is somewhat ironic image of this icon of rebellion being mass-produced in a factory in Sao Goncalo near Rio de Janeiro.
Reuters notes that the masks are manufactured for sale to stores specializing in costumes.
There’s no doubt that the masks, which transform identifiable citizens into anonymous dissidents, irk authorities. Especially since the mask has become a symbol of the amorphous hacktivist group Anonymous.
British graphic novel artist David Lloyd, the man who created the original image of the mask for a comic strip written by Alan Moore, approves of their use by the online jesters.
“My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolise that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system,” Lloyd told BBC.
Canada recently passed a law that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
An interesting note is that Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world and parent of Warner Brothers, owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask.
In 2011 purported members of Anonymous told CNN that activists were ordering masks mass-produced and shipped in from Asia so that Time Warner didn’t receive the loyalties.
Here they are in action during a labour strike in Portugal:
And in Turkey:
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