This is a first. For me, anyway. I have witnessed and even participated in a rally or two demanding attention for a cause important to me. Protest rallies, walks and gatherings usually smack similar to each other. There are usually crowds, placards, speakers and a whole lot of cheering or booing.
This is the first time I have heard about a protest group gathering to simply clean up a park–a nice, productive act that actually has nothing to do with the cause the protestors were gathering to support. It wasn’t an environmental, civic or citizen action group. It was a group of supporters of the Internet hacking group, Anonymous–known as “hactivists.” The “protest” happened in Japan following enactment of new, strict laws that could send anyone convicted of illegally downloading music on the Internet to jail time. The group claims Japan’s recording industry and other content providers were now pushing Internet service providers to implement surveillance technology that will spy on every Internet user in Japan. To protest that, a group of supporters cleaned a park.
“We prefer constructive and productive solutions,” the group said in a statement. “We want to make our fellow citizens aware of the problem with a productive message.”
The group of about 80 wore symbolic Guy Fawkes masks to protect their anonymity and matching dark suits as they picked up litter and cleaned up the public park.
Anonymous is a loosely-associated, leaderless group of hactivists, according to Wikipedia, and largely considered one of the main successors to WikiLeaks. It was also named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people of the year in 2012.