‘Million Mask March’ leads to Broadcasting House lockdown

Life imitates art: In the film version of V for Vendetta, armoured security guards utterly fail to stop a man wearing a 'Guy Fawkes' mask from invading the HQ of the national broadcaster. These real-life guards had a better time of it against thousands of similarly-masked people yesterday (Wednesday) - because all they wanted to do was take part in a peaceful protest.

Life imitates art: In the film version of V for Vendetta, armoured security guards utterly fail to stop a man wearing a ‘Guy Fawkes’ mask from invading the HQ of the national broadcaster. These real-life guards had a better time of it against thousands of similarly-masked people yesterday (Wednesday) – because all they wanted to do was take part in a peaceful protest.

Now why do you think the BBC’s headquarters at New Broadcasting House were locked down while angry people in masks inspired by V for Vendetta protested outside?

Did BBC bosses feel that the accuracy of their reporting was a thorn in the side of the anonymous thousands outside, who had gathered to protest against austerity, mass surveillance, oppression and unconstitutional government? This is hardly likely, as they could not even get right the identity of the character the marchers were emulating.

The BBC’s news story was headlined Thousands take part in London ‘Guy Fawkes’ protest but the masks are in fact worn in imitation of V, the lead character in Alan Moore’s story about an anarchist who engineers the downfall of a fascist British government in a near-future England (the rest of the UK having been destroyed in a catastrophe). The march takes place on November 5 because that is when V starts his campaign (by blowing up the Houses of Parliament – hence the Guy Fawkes mask that he wears).

This is elementary stuff. It just happens that Yr Obdt Srvt is extremely well-versed in the symbolism, having been one of the few fortunate enough to have read the story when it was first serialised (starting in Warrior, issue one, back in 1982) – but even if this wasn’t the case, any journalist worth their salt should have been able to do the research.

This is the point, though: The BBC doesn’t have any journalists of that calibre, it seems.

Look at the story about the march. After the introduction – that does, yes, mention a little about why it was taking place – the BBC was desperate to report any arrests that had taken place, along with incidents of antisocial behaviour. For example: “Several people threw missiles, including plastic cones and road signs, at the police and several fireworks were let off by people at the base of Nelson’s column.”

Would the BBC even have reported the march if there had been no alleged offences? Here’s a clue: the corporation only reported June’s anti-austerity demonstration – which, again, passed its front door – after receiving an unspecified number of complaints after no mention was made on the main news bulletins of the day.

Perhaps the unpleasantness at the doors of New Broadcasting House could have been avoided if Auntie had been a little more accommodating with her coverage back in the summer?

Of course, the spectacle of multiple armoured security guards defending the headquarters of the UK’s public broadcaster is reminiscent of a scene from the V for Vendetta movie, in which the title character invades a television studio.

Considering the fact that the fictional broadcaster was responsible for pumping government propaganda into the minds of the masses, it’s rather an unfortunate parallel.

BBC executives would have known that, if only they had any journalists who knew how to do the research.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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11 thoughts on “‘Million Mask March’ leads to Broadcasting House lockdown

  1. Sarah

    My friend was part of the group outside the BBC and was livestreaming. Looking through the windows all you could see were rows of empty desks as if the employees had been shuffled out the back until the march had passed. If only one had stayed in that room they’d have been able to see what was going on and would have been able to report accurately. But there again why change the habits of a lifetime and actually work with facts? It’s just not their style.

  2. sleepmeister

    They also mention Marches taking place in other Countries such as Cambodia and Chile, but fail to mention the two marches that happened in Glasgow and Edinburgh last night. The beebs loves us Scots.

    1. sonnesun

      Exactly. There’s even a few of the officers wearing black masks. If a protester wore a mask to conceal their face then that would automatically be seen as a sign of pre-planned aggression.

  3. Nick

    what a dreadful state of affairs this country has become and with no let up in sight just like hong Kong and so many other countries in the middle east

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Hang on – Epic Fail Guy finds a ‘V for Vendetta’ mask in a bin, starts wearing it, and becomes an icon as a result, and you’re saying that these masks are being worn because of him and not V? He wouldn’t have that mask without V!
      Feel free to disagree but look at all the evidence and the appearance of that mask on a large mass of people in an event against an oppressive government – on Bonfire Night – has a lot more to do with V than with Guy Fawkes or your Epic Fail Guy!… Or so it seems to me.

      1. HomerJS

        I’m with you Mike. I can’t speak for Anonymous, but anyone who has seen the film will tell you that this is the more likely prompt for most people. It is not about the mask itself, even including the Guy Fawkes connection. It’s that the hero in the film is fighting against a corrupt and evil government, and the parallels to today are uncanny. His aim is to empower the people, rather than bring down the government on his own. It is that fight that is the key and the mask is a symbol of the idea of that ‘revolution’.

        By the way, he doesn’t start his campaign by blowing up Parliament, that’s how he (sort of) ends it. He begins it by blowing up the Old Bailey.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sorry – I always default to the comic series version of events, which begins with him saving Evey Hammond from a gang of Fingermen and then blowing up Parliament, on November 5. I know the film has a different chronology.

  4. Jack Catastrophe

    Additionally, if you look at the way the BBC covered the Occupy protest earlier this month, they didn’t. They broadcast one short piece, it took 50 seconds for them to identify the groups name, whilst their cause was limited to 3 words ‘anti globalisation group’, by which time they had already given mention to the apparently primary fact that Russell Brand came down to deliver pizza

    If you want coverage of protest, you have to go with Russia Today UK.

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