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Police arrest 50 people in London during protest described as “anti-capitalist” by computer hacking group ‘Anonymous’

The actions were part of its annual “Million Mask March,” with a broad theme of opposition to “corruption, censorship, inequality and war”

An effigy of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is burned as part of Bonfire Night celebrations in Edenbridge, England, Nov. 5, 2016. VOA

Washington, November 6, 2016: British police arrested nearly 50 people in London Saturday during a protest they described as “anti-capitalist,” organized by the computer hacking group known as Anonymous.

A similar demonstration in Washington, said to be “anti-corruption,” resulted in two arrests for defacing or damaging public property.

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The Anonymous group said the actions were part of its annual “Million Mask March,” with a broad theme of opposition to “corruption, censorship, inequality and war.” Scattered reports of small-scale demonstrations in other cities have appeared on social media.

Many demonstrators were disguised as Guy Fawkes, wearing masks with a stylized image of the 17th-century revolutionary who plotted to blow up the British Parliament. Anonymous has adopted the Guy Fawkes visage, which first appeared in the cult film V for Vendetta, as a symbol of its anti-establishment stance.

Britons traditionally remember Guy Fawkes each year on November 5, known as Bonfire Night, by celebrations in towns and cities throughout the country, usually with large public bonfires commemorating the foiled Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

London crowd spreads

The largest crowd for Saturday’s Million Mask March demonstration was in London. The Independent newspaper said several thousand people turned out in central London and began marching toward Trafalgar Square, ignoring restrictions imposed on the event. London police had issued a public warning beforehand that “masked criminals seeking to run amok” were expected.

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The march began peacefully, with the crowd chanting “Whose streets? Our streets,” and “One solution: revolution” as police officers walked beside the protesters.

When the crowd reached Trafalgar Square, fireworks were set off, several demonstrators climbed onto the base of a tall stone column that honors the British naval hero Lord Nelson, and others split off in groups marching along routes that had not been approved by police.

Officers wearing protective helmets and carrying riot gear moved into the crowd, demanding that protesters remove their masks and identify themselves, and detaining those who refused. By late evening, 47 people had been arrested — many for drug offenses, others for obstruction, criminal damage and other infractions.

Incidents in U.S.

In Washington, meanwhile, police reported protesters spray-painted graffiti at FBI headquarters, midway between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, as well as at the nearby Trump International Hotel. A city police car was damaged at some point, and two men were arrested.

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In what appeared to be an unconnected incident, the U.S. Secret Service said officers arrested a man who was walking near the White House carrying a firearm. The executive mansion was briefly placed on lockdown, but President Barack Obama was not present at the time.

Obama was enjoying the sunny autumn afternoon by playing golf at the time at an Air Force base outside Washington, when the security incident occurred downtown. (VOA)

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Washington Becomes First State to Approve Net-neutrality Rules

“We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks after signing a bill, March 5, 2018, in Olympia, Washington, that makes Washington the first state to set up its own net-neutrality requirements in response to the FCC's recent repeal of Obama-era rules. VOA

Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or impairing traffic.

“We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,” Gov. Jay Inslee said before signing the measure that lawmakers passed with bipartisan support. “We know how important this is.”

The Federal Communications Commission voted in December to gut U.S. rules that meant to prevent broadband companies such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

ALSO READ: What will be the Fate of Net Neutrality after Being Repealed?

Because the FCC prohibited state laws from contradicting its decision, opponents of the Washington law have said it would lead to lawsuits.

Inslee said he was confident of its legality, saying “the states have a full right to protect their citizens.” Pixabay

Oregon law has not been signed

The new law also requires internet providers to disclose information about their management practices, performance, and commercial terms. Violations would be enforceable under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

While several states introduced similar measures this year seeking to protect net neutrality, only Oregon and Washington passed bills. But Oregon’s measure wouldn’t put any new requirements on internet providers.

It would stop state agencies from buying internet service from any company that blocks or prioritizes specific content or apps, starting in 2019. It’s unclear when Oregon’s measure would be signed into law.

Washington state was among more than 20 states and the District of Columbia that sued in January to try and block the FCC’s action. There are also efforts by Democrats to undo the move in Congress.

Governors in five states — Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, and Vermont — have signed executive orders related to net-neutrality issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Zuckerberg in favor of 100 percent net neutrality

Expect new rules by mid-June

Big telecom companies have said net neutrality rules could undermine investment in broadband and introduce uncertainty about what are acceptable business practices. Net-neutrality advocates say the FCC decision would harm innovation and make it harder for the government to crack down on internet providers who act against consumer interests.

The FCC’s new rules are not expected to go into effect until later this spring. Washington’s law will take effect mid-June.

Messages left with the Broadband Communications Association of Washington, which opposed the bill, were not immediately returned. (VOA)