Excuse Me, We’re From the Net

Both Joshua and I found ourselves passing by the Anonymous people protesting the Church of Scientology today:

Anonymous photo of Boston Anti-Scientology protest (15 March 2008)

At a rough estimate, there were probably a little over a hundred people present at noon — pretty good turnout for a Stand Alone Complex. (And I’ll have you know I thought of that comparison independently.) As Joshua says,

The main impression I had was that they were really well-organised and on-message for a bunch of random, anonymous internet people. There was a fair amount of meme-shouting, but the dominant chant was “TAX THE CULT”, and most of the signs reflected that theme and/or pointed people to xenu.net for more information.

The “Honk if you oppose $cientology” signs got some good responses from the drivers passing along Beacon Street, as did the “CoS [heart] Yankees” sign which came out later. I noticed that the honking went in clusters: if one car honked, the ones immediately following it (in a clump formed by the traffic lights, say) were more likely to make noise themselves.

The Anonymous were also being very mindful of non-protesters. Someone would always shout “Clear the sidewalk!” when pedestrians were coming, and they redirected some poor, lost drivers who tried to turn the wrong way onto Beacon Street. (Mainly by shouting “EPIC FAIL!” at them while waving them in the right direction.)

This sounds, more or less, like what was going on when I hung around.

laughing_anon.pngThe police did stop one car which made a slow turn from Hereford onto Beacon, honking all the while (the people inside were wearing Guy Fawkes masks and taking pictures of the crowd on the sidewalks). I was at the wrong angle and had too many protesters between myself and the stopped car to see what happened, although the people standing near me were making wry smalltalk: “Somebody’s license plate has just been photographed. Guess who’s Fair Game now?” and so forth.

Anon617 has some photos of the event, as do Dizzyjosh and Greybolt.

4 thoughts on “Excuse Me, We’re From the Net”

  1. Blake, in reading about the event I saw some claims that ultimately 200 people showed up. I’m slightly more inclined toward the 150 number, but 200 certainly isn’t impossible.

    Also, the car that got pulled over were apparently being ticketed because the driver had a mask on. I guess that’s illegal, which makes sense from a reduced-visibility perspective. It’s still shitty that they got themselves entered into CoS’ system, though.

  2. Eamon Knight:

    It was L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday.


    I’m going to tentatively treat it as such (I haven’t had my caffeine yet, so I might not be the best Turing-test judge).


    Thanks for the update.

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