Ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement took off and spread to cities around the world, the Guy Fawkes mask worn by Anonymous “hacktivists” has been an increasingly common sight at protests.
Throughout 2014, Anons could be spotted in sizable numbers on the streets of Ferguson, Beavercreek, New York City and all over the world at anti-police brutality protests.
But now, Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban activists from wearing masks or even hooded sweatshirts in public spaces.
The chair of the Oklahoma’s public safety committee introduced the bill, state senator Don Barrington (R), said that this would make “it unlawful to wear a mask, hood or covering during the commission of a crime or to intentionally conceal a person’s identity in a public place.”
He says it is to cut down on crime, but it wouldn’t apply to Halloween, parties, State sanctioned parades or “those wearing coverings required by their religious beliefs.”
It also wouldn’t apply to those who wear masks for medical purposes.
So are police going to just start asking people if they have a medical or religious reason to wear a mask? Clearly, the bill is intended to apply to those who are in public space, not at a party, or trick-or-treating, who officers can identify by virtue of their participating in protests. Robbers do not typically go to and from the places they commit crimes, while wearing masks. So invoking the farce of “fighting crime” is a nonsense.
Participating in protests wearing masks would be the only way that officers would know for sure that one was not wearing the mask under the aforementioned exemptions.
If protesters violate this new rule, it would result in a misdemeanor charge along with a fine of $50 to $500. It could even result in imprisonment for up to one year if the courts so decided.
(Article by Moreh B.D.K.; image via Marko Djurica and Reuters)