June 11th, 2013
07:15 AM ET

The new face of protest

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It has been become the face of the modern protester. We saw it on the streets of Turkey last week, worn on masks by airline workers, but by many others, too. And in Thailand, too, covering the faces of anti-government protesters. They were used by the anti-austerity protesters in Greece, by the Occupy movement, by the protesters in Tahrir Square, by the mysterious hackers known as Anonymous.

And the visage is apparently so frightening that last week, the Saudi interior minister is said to have banned the masks all together in his country following in the footsteps of his neighbors in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. What do you think? The likeness is that of Guy Fawkes, an explosives expert in the early 1600s in England who was part of a plot to blow up the state opening of the British Parliament. He is still burned in effigy in England every November 5.

But the credit for his worldwide resurgence in popularity is given to the film V for Vendetta, which was released in 2005 by CNN's corporate cousin Warner Brothers.

I doubt Guy Fawkes could ever have imagined as he died a torturous death – hung, drawn, and quartered – that 400 years later he would have so many doppelgangers so far flung across the world.

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Topics: Last Look

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. deniz boro

    I would have thought the new face would be Penguine masks since Turkish pro-government broadcasting channels seems to find them intriguing and fashinating 😉

    June 11, 2013 at 7:27 am | Reply
    • no


      June 15, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  2. matslats

    Have you noticed the riot police all over the world also seem to wear the same uniform and use the same tactics?

    June 11, 2013 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • Nathan

      Did you know that there are similar laws worldwide, not because of some weird conspiracy theorist new world order stuff, but because they are good and effective, as such are said tactics. Who they are used against is a different story.

      June 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Kathy

      Yes, I wonder if anyone else has noticed that.. Maybe it is part of the new world order. I wonder if there is an insignia on the uniforms?

      June 14, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
  3. Peter

    Long live Guy Fawkes!

    June 11, 2013 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Thomas

      Guy did not die drawn and quartered. He died by LEAPING into the noose, set to strangle him slowly. he beat the executioner..It was an act of defiance against authority..Please do a bit of research old Guido..and see why he was picked as a symbol..It had nothing to do with advocating the use of explosives..It had to do with much deeper nuances..

      June 12, 2013 at 1:40 am | Reply
  4. USAPeasant

    Guy Fawkes literally tried to destroy the only semblance of democracy Britain has. I think he is a poor choice of a mascot. It is a shame there is not a Cincinattus mask. Who knows though, maybe the forces of freedom and democracy in the future will where Edward Snowden masks, lol.

    June 11, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Agustin

      I think it may not be democracy that it stands for. More like anarchism I think.

      June 16, 2013 at 1:05 am | Reply
  5. Dmitry

    I actually own one of those masks. Hmm... maybe I should start wearing it around, like when I am driving, going to work or shopping ? 🙂

    June 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  6. mattk

    It is adopted because of stupid neck beards on 4chan/reddit who like comic books (if they have even read the comic let alone the actual history behind Fawkes)

    June 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Matt, you have a point..The mask was adapted post Sept 1 2003...But yes, 4chan used it after picking up the idea from a historian friend...The Anon movement actually did not really get going until 5 years later..as the economy failed...

      June 12, 2013 at 1:42 am | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Guy Fawkes was seen as a terrorist by the Protestants in England. His expertise with gunpowder gave him a key – and very perilous – role in the conspiracy, to source and ignite the explosive. He wanted to re-introduce Catholicism in the kingdom and kill King James I, who was going to visit the House of Lords.

    June 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • amrcnhoney

      How is Guy Fawkes known as a bad person if he wanted to re-introduce Catholic to England? I see this as a positive thing. That does not makes sense.

      June 17, 2013 at 6:41 am | Reply
  8. Ferhat Balkan

    They may as well be wearing Lenin masks. It's not difficult to see the HKP banners being carried around where the majority of these protests take place. HKP being the "Halkın Kurtuluş Partisi" a well known Communist group which often instigates riots.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  9. Some Stupid Guy

    Guy Fawkes died leaping from the scaffold; thus sparing himself being drawn and quartered....fyi

    June 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  10. vilkus

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Thomas Jefferson

    June 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  11. deniz boro

    I believe being anonymous is important in certain countries. For example just in the heat of things when people are now being shot in the streets, there is a new proposal for a law on the regulation of social media in the Turkish senate. It will pass since the leading party has the majority of the seats. Unfortunatelly I write my comments in my true name and would not be surprised if I can not comment on the GPS for any reason by one way or another 🙂

    June 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • adem arslan

      senin sulaleni doguranini sikeyim,,ulkeni gidip amerikan gazetelerine mi satiyorsunuz.serefsiz pezevenkler.Vayan hainleri

      June 17, 2013 at 7:22 am | Reply
  12. 15243

    V for vendetta........

    June 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  13. steve

    The writer could at least have mentioned Alan Moore and David Lloyd's comic upon which the film was based.

    June 12, 2013 at 12:02 am | Reply
  14. dave

    They should give more credit to guy fawkes. love the movie though..

    June 12, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
  15. Adri

    Watch the movie Cloud Atlas and you will know why all the police look and act the same; as Georgie likes to say "The meek are meat and the strong will eat" or as I like to say "The 99% have all the energy and the 1% believes it belongs to them" .

    June 12, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
  16. Rick

    These masks started with "The Immortals" . Funny how CNN fails to mention them, although they know full well all about it.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  17. GrammarPolice

    "I doubt Guy Fawkes could ever have imagined as he died a torturous death – hung, drawn, and quartered "

    The word is 'hanged' when referring to the method of execution. Whether Guy Fawkes was hung or not is probably something that only Mrs Fawkes knew for sure.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • rg500g


      June 16, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
  18. Rick McDaniel

    People see a movie, they do stuff. Precisely why we have so much violence in society today, in spite of the dishonesty of the movie industry, in trying to claim their violent films have no impact. The facts say otherwise.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  19. Sharmy

    Never saw the appeal of the Fawkes mask for some proper rioting/protesting. Probably get better peripheral vision with a balaclava and protection against tear gas with some ski goggles. Riot safe, kids. Good luck to everyone in Taksim, Erdo is a bum. I liked that he seemed to bring the overzealous military to heel a bit, but he's just as bad. Just another greasy political mutant. I wonder if we'll ever truly be rid of these people?

    June 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  20. Shat4brains

    And no one mentioned that Warner Bro's owns that mask and makes money every time one is bought

    June 14, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
  21. T. Best

    Seriously, love the mask, but why not Scream masks? Those are creepy!

    June 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  22. Boo

    "Remember.....the 5th of November!" – John Lennon

    June 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • SKR

      Sorry that's not John Lennon's quote, he was quoting a famous children's rhyme we have here in England:

      Remember, remember the fifth of November
      Gunpowder, treason and plot.
      I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
      Should ever be forgot.

      Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
      To blow up king and parliament.
      Three score barrels were laid below
      To prove old England's overthrow.

      By God's mercy he was catch'd
      With a darkened lantern and burning match.
      So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
      Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

      And what shall we do with him?
      Burn him!

      I learnt it in primary school, though people only remember the first verse really.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply
  23. EVN

    A big metaphorical middle finger to those in power, those that put them there, those that keep them there, and those for whose benefit governments all over the world have the best politicians money can buy – the beauty of a symbol is about all we are going to have soon as we are being spied on, lied to, and thrown under the bus by those having power over us.

    June 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  24. Gammorin

    Not a single mention of 4chan...

    June 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • Sharmy

      Are you upset?

      June 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  25. generallin

    V is cool~

    June 15, 2013 at 9:01 am | Reply
  26. T Diemer

    What surprizes me is I did not find the movie Vendetta to be very good or very inspiring!!

    June 15, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • Agustin

      Movie is poop. The comic is the real deal. Allan Moore (the writer) walked out of the theater when he saw the movie actually, funny story. Totally recommend the comic book though, regardless its a good read.

      June 16, 2013 at 1:09 am | Reply
  27. seunadedayo

    Reblogged this on seunadedayo's Blog.

    June 15, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
  28. Agustin

    What a simple article. Couldve included a lot more.

    June 16, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply
  29. Antired1982

    What is the real democracy? My opinion, the real democracy is....people have more freedom but must not violate other people rights. In Thailand, red shirt understand the real democracy in wrong meaning. They think, can do anything example in 2010 they protested Thai government They closed Ratchaprasong several months. They destroyed Thai Economy because Ratchaprasong has many department stores. They violated other people who worked in Ratchaprasong and Silom by raided. When Thai army repressed the red shirt, the red shirt went to burn 7/11, Central World, Center One.
    Is this the real democracy?

    June 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Reply

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