Where Those Iconic Guy Fawkes Masks That So Many Protesters Wear Are Manufactured

guyA woman cleans Guy Fawkes masks, used by many demonstrators in protests around the world and in the recent wave of demonstrations in Brazil, at a factory assembly line in Sao Goncalo near Rio de Janeiro June 28, 2013.

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.

Guy fawkesA woman cleans Guy Fawkes masks, used by many demonstrators in protests around the world and in the recent wave of demonstrations in Brazil, at a factory assembly line in Sao Goncalo near Rio de Janeiro on June 28, 2013.
guy fawkesA Guy Fawkes mask (C), used by many demonstrators in protests around the world and in the recent wave of demonstrations in Brazil, hangs on a wall next to various other masks of Brazilian politicians, at a factory in Sao Goncalo near Rio de Janeiro on June 28, 2013.

Here they are in action during a labour strike in Portugal:

guy fawkesDemonstrators with Guy Fawkes masks march to the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon June 27, 2013. Portuguese trade unions staged a one-day general strike on Thursday against relentless austerity which has deepened the worst economic slump since the 1970s, but support outside the public transport sector was patchy and the government seemed unlikely to back down.

And in Turkey:

turkeyAnti-government protesters demonstrate in Ankara June 4, 2013.

And Brazil:

brazil world cup protests masked man neymar jersey

And Occupy:

guy fawkesA protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask carries an Occupy Wall Street placard in front of the Reichstag building during an Occupy Berlin protest denouncing current banking and financial industry practices in Berlin November 12, 2011.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.