Anonymous protests target 17 Indian cities
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, June 1 (IBNS): Loosely organised international hacker group Anonymous has said it is planning demonstrations in 17 Indian cities on June 9 to protest Internet censorship.
The group's India chapter had defaced a number of websites of the Indian government and internet service providers (ISPs) after they blocked several file and link sharing sites recently.
The group's blog and Facebook page, announcing protests in key Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, have already started drawing support from Internet users.
Taking cues from the 'Occupy Wall Street' protests in the U.S., the demonstrations in the Indian cities have called for public gatherings in key urban locations such as the India Gate in Delhi.
While popular locations for 10 large cities have been posted on the Anonymous' India website, locations in 7 other cities have been deemed "tentative".
The planned Occupy-style protests have called on Internet users to throng to the protest venues wearing Guy Fawkes masks, a symbol widely used by the hacktivist group.
"Internet is the only free media we have. Censoring it will mean that free speech is not possible any more," a member of Anonymous was quoted as saying.
If the curbs on the websites, enforced by ISPs at the behest of the government and certain courts, are not lifted, there will be more attacks on government sites, the group warned.
Anonymous also said that it is targeting the websites of certain political parties such as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for a supposed vendetta against free speech.
A university professor in West Bengal was beaten up and jailed last month for emailing a cartoon poking fun at the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, leader of the TMC.
The Indian arm of Anonymous coordinates with its followers in mainly through its Posterous blog at http://opindia.posterous.com/ and its Twitter account @opindia_revenge.
The group has been a vocal critic of a recent clampdown on websites such as Pastebin, Vimeo and DailyMotion, by ISPs such as Airtel and Reliance.
India has 100 million Internet users, less than a tenth of the country's population of 1.2 billion, but still the third largest user base behind China and the United States.
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