The Million Mask March: Language, legitimacy, and dissent

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The following paper examines emerging trends in protest management in the UK, looking predominantly at the 5 November 2015 demonstrations led by hacktivist collective Anonymous. This event can be considered unique on a number of fronts. First, the common terminology used by police to justify the use of undercover operatives and aggressive forms of crowd control was conspicuously absent from public discourse surrounding the event. Secondly, conventional media channels throughout the UK focused on the London campaign and all but failed to cover the wider national/international demonstrations – thus depicting London itself as an isolated incident. Thirdly, the Million Mask March was a significant moment in civil history, for behind the scenes much of the policing effort was taking place online, with covert agencies manipulating mainstream coverage of the event to discredit campaigners, disrupt a legitimate public protest, and deny participants their right to dissent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-309
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • protest
  • surveillance
  • discourse
  • intelligence
  • GCHQ
  • public order
  • policing
  • hacktivism


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