Hacktivist group Anonymous is planning to hold a special "Day of Vengeance" in several cities around the U.S. on Saturday.
Late last night, Anonymous--or at least people claiming to be from Anonymous--posted a press release on Pastebin, saying that Saturday will be marked by peaceful protests in cities across the U.S. combined with cyberattacks on "various targets, including Wall Street, Corrupt Banking Institutions, and the New York City Police Department."
Anonymous didn't say the cities in which the protests will be held, though New York would seem to be an obvious guess.
Anonymous' decision to release its "communique" and call for a Day of Vengeance is a response to the recent New York City "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration. Last week, about 1,000 people from various groups descended on Lower Manhattan to protest the corporate world's close ties to American politics. The protesters were urged by the "Occupy Wall Street" organizers to "flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months."
In last night's release, Anonymous criticized how those protesters were handled, saying that they "faced phalanxes of heavily armed paramilitary police officers from local and federal jurisdictions." Although some protesters were arrested last week, Anonymous' real issue with the events came on Tuesday when, the organization claims in its release, police used "excessive force against and arresting innocent peaceful protesters, several of whom were abused and injured."
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"Anonymous & the other cyber liberation groups around the world together with all the freedom loving people in the USA will NOT stand for this," the release reads. "We will peacefully yet forcefully resist the abuses of the NYC Police Department."
However, it appears that the protesters have been largely left alone. Just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that only 20 protesters have been arrested since they started their efforts.
Although it's possible that members of Anonymous have taken issue with the NYPD's handling of protests in New York City, it's quite difficult to determine if the latest release speaks for a large portion of the organization's members. Anonymous is, by design, a loose organization of people fighting for causes they believe in, which means there is no clear hierarchy to the group. So, determining if a given announcement speaks for one member or all members, is nearly impossible to decipher.
Even so, Anonymous has been very successful in launching cyberattacks. Just last month, the group claimed that it had hacked into the DNS servers of Symantec, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and several other major organizations. The group has also allegedly been involved in attacks on government organizations, taking aim at the Tunisian government Web site and the city of Orlando.
But all of those attacks haven't come at a cost. Over the last several months, a host of alleged Anonymous members have been arrested around the world. Earlier this month, 14 alleged Anonymous members plead not guilty to felony charges of hacking and conspiracy.
Through it all, Anonymous has kept a brave face, saying that even if authorities arrest some of its members, there are still others ready and willing to take their place.
"We are Anonymous," the group's slogan reads. "We are everywhere. We are legion. We never forget. We never forgive."