Anonymous-backed demonstration unfolds outside U.K. Parliament

The demonstration is the centerpiece of a worldwide Anonymous operation of 'global strength and solidarity.'

Members and followers of the Anonymous hacking group demonstrated outside the British Parliament in London Monday, following a series of hacking attacks to protest, among other things, the incarceration or confinement of alleged hackers and various proposals for monitoring communications.

The demonstration was billed as the centerpiece of a worldwide Anonymous operation of "global strength and solidarity," accordingto a previously issued statement.

The goal was to re-enactthe final revolution scene from the movie "V for Vendetta."

At 8:10 p.m. local time the first police vans turned up. Police started lining up outside the iron fence that protects the Houses of Parliament. Five minutes later a couple of hundred protestors came walking down Whitehall. After a few initial altercations between the police and demonstrators, proceedings settled down.

Anonymous' demands on U.K. authorities include the release of what the organization bills as political prisoners, including Richard O'Dwyer, who allegedly broke copyright law, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged hacker Jeremy Hammond.

O'Dwyer faces extradition from the U.K. to the United States on copyright charges. Hammond was arrested in March for his alleged involvement in the hack on Stratfor Global Intelligence in December last year.

Anonymous also wants Web monitoring programs including, but not limited to, the Communications Data Bill Cm 8359, to be withdrawn.

A draft of the bill in question was presented in June and includes provisions that would allow for logging users' Web and mobile phone use. Though the content of communications would not be monitored, the information would be retained for up to 12 months.

Distributed denial of service attacks must be recognized as a legitimate form of protest as well, as long as an aim and reason has been specified by the protestors, according to the statement.

On Sunday, hackers associated with Anonymous compromised and defaced various websites including several NBC websites, a Lady Gaga fan site called Gaga Daily and several Australian websites.

The group also claimed to have hacked PayPal and published user account information in a document hosted on privatepaste.com, which has been removed. PayPal continues to investigate the claim, but has been unable to find any evidence that validates it, according to a Twitter post by its head of public relations Anuj Nayar.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

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