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'Anonymous' activists return with hugely popular messages of support for George Floyd protests

Andrew Griffin
Anonymous: YouTube screengrab

Accounts associated with the activist group Anonymous are sharing their support for the ongoing protests after the death of George Floyd.

Some of the posts have been viewed millions of times and shared hundreds of thousands of times, as users look to amplify the group.

Those aligning themselves with Anonymous were once one of the largest activist forces on the internet, using both online and real-world events and disruption to protest a wide variety of causes. In recent years, however, their media profile and the apparently number of people identifying with the group has reduced.

In the wake of the ongoing protests across the US, however, a range of posts offering support for the protests and using the Anonymous name have spread across social media.

The websites of the Minneapolis police department and the city both went offline over the weekend, though it is not clear who was behind those attacks and whether they are definitively associated with activist groups.

One Facebook video, which has been viewed millions of times, includes a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and a hoodie in the look that has come to be associated with the group. It expresses sympathy with the protesters and suggests that supporters will pursue publicity campaigns to release further information.

It accused the Minneapolis police of "horrific track record of violence and corruption" in the video, which was explicitly focused on local officers.

“We do not trust your corrupt organisation to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion. Expect us," the message concludes.

Another post including the video has been retweeted almost 500,000 times. Many more similar tweets are likely to be amplifying the video.

The most prominent Anonymous account on Twitter, which uses the handle @YourAnonNews, has tweeted a range of posts offering support for protesters.

Much of the support appears to be coming from fans of K-Pop, noted Gabriella Coleman, a researcher who has written extensively on Anonymous. She noted that fans of the genre have shown considerable support to the Black Lives Matter protests, which has also included taking down an app created by the Dallas police.

Because of the nature of Anonymous, anyone who wishes to be affiliated with the group is able to claim to be a member. That has in the past led members of the group to support a variety of different causes, focusing on everything from the Church of Scientology to Sony.

It has aligned itself with the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality in the past, including a range of activities in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown and the Ferguson protests that followed.

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