For the past few weeks, the online hacker group Anonymous has been quite active in India, taking down several government websites and a few corporate websites in protest against the recent incidents of Internet censorship in India. About a fortnight ago, the hacker group had stated its plans in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) based press conference, to conduct a nationwide on-ground protest on June 9, 2012 across several cities like Mumbai and Chennai among others, asking citizens to protest these blocks by wearing a mask and offering materials like banners and flyers for the protest.
On Saturday (June 9, 2012), these protests took place in 16 Indian cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Indore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Calicut, Nagpur, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Manipal among others. Here’s a roundup of what happened in each city:
About 120 people showed up. The police was calm, but the protestors were not allowed to march from the place of protest. Most were students from the University of Mumbai and other colleges. Some were from other cities as well like Chennai, who were actually holidaying in Mumbai and decided to attend. More in this piece in DNA.
: The protest was held for 90 minutes, with protesters displayed banners with anti-government slogans. The protest took place at sector 17. Watch: Video
: Venue was changed to Treasure Island from Regal Square as police denied permission stating that the said location is too close to the High Court. Anonymous (Indore) members requested all on Facebook to meet at Treasure Island, a mall in Indore with an intention that police could not remove them from a public location, but no one turned up. Very few people came to the initial venue but on noticing the poor turnout, apparently walked away. More in the Times of India
: Protesters were refused permission from three different police stations. 950 members of Kolkata Facebook page had said they would attend, but apparently less than hundred turned out at South City handing out information on internet laws. The police also told them that they could protest for only 20 mins and that they had to make two smaller groups. Read: A note from an attendee
– Hyderabad– First there was some confusion on Facebook about the location, between Park Plaza and Necklace Road. Secondly, the police did not let them protest, even ordered the protestors to take off their masks and go away or they said they would call the police force, and threatened to confiscate all protest material like t-shirts and fliers. Eventually after speaking to a higher official the protestors were taken to Indra park with a police patrol team, where they continued the protest peacefully for some time.
: The turnout was not large however people managed to cover various locations starting from Brigade road they moved to MG road metro and then Anil Kumble circle. The police did create some problems at MG Road near the Mahatma Gandhi Statue according to an Occupy Bangalore member.
: Approximately 50 people turned up. They visited some of the major landmarks starting from the beach. They distributed fliers and talked to people on the way. The police was courteous and obliged to their requests of protesting in the city.
: The protest took place at Besant Nagar beach. According to The Times Of India the turnout was low, but a readers comments on the same article says that they did speak with many people, to create awareness, and the local constable who first tried to stop them was not informed by the police however they had taken prior permission. Around 30 people gathered. More in The Times of India
About 170 facebook members of anonymous Ahmedabad said they would turn up but there was a crowd of approx 15 out of which many left after realizing that the turn out will not be big. The protest lasted only 15 minutes.
About ten people turned out for the event. At first only 5 or 6 assembled and got their posters ready on venue then later 4 or so joined. According to the occupy Jaipur page it took them about 2 days to get permission from police. They were handing out leaflets to everybody including some police officials. The cops were calm since the protest was not that big. Some photos: Handing out leaflets to police
and getting charts ready
Students could be seen protesting at tiger circle and the entrance of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT). The protest seemed pretty smooth with no hindrance from the police. A video of the protest here
The occupy Coimbatore page on Facebook says it was cancelled. The Times of India also confirms
the same, stating it was cancelled last minute.
– Delhi: We went for OccupyDelhi. There was some confusion initially, since the protests were planned for India Gate, but were then shifted to Jantar Mantar. There were several policemen at the entrance to Jantar Mantar, but they kept their distance. Those attending were joined from people from India Against Corruption, and those who protested against Internet Censorship – Save Your Voice. There were around 30-40 people, and almost as many mediapersons. Those from SaveYourVoice asked the attendees to join the fight against Internet Censorship, and said that these protests from Anonymous have brought new people into the fold.
Note: If you have additional info to share, please do. Also, we haven’t been able to find any info on protests in Pune, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram and Mysore
By Aman Rai, Vikas SN and Nikhil Pahwa
– Anonymous India’s Takedowns Could Be Counterproductive
– Anonymous Defaces More Indian Websites
– Anonymous Hacks Into Reliance Servers; Redirects Users To Warning Page
– Anonymous India Releases Reliance’s Site Block List; Calls For On-Ground Protest On June 9th 2012
– Anonymous Takes Down Websites Of Indian Supreme Court & AICC #IndiaBlocks