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'Vendetta' mask becomes symbol of Occupy protests

By Verena Dobnik

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 4 2011 3:10 a.m. MDT

FILE -In this Oct. 15, 2011 file photo, a protester with the "Occupy Seattle" movement wears a Guy Fawkes mask and takes a photo with a mobile phone as he demonstrates, in downtown Seattle. From New York to San Francisco to London, some of the demonstrators decrying a variety of society's ills are sporting stylized masks loosely modeled on a 17th-century English terrorist, whether they know it or not. The masks come from "V for Vendetta," a comic-based movie whose violent, anarchist antihero fashions himself as a modern Guy Fawkes, the Catholic insurrectionist executed four centuries ago for trying to blow up Parliament.

Ted S. Warren, File, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Look at photos or videos from around the world of Occupy protesters and you'll likely spot a handful of people wearing masks of a cartoon-like man with a pointy beard, closed-mouth smile and mysterious eyes.

The mask is a stylized version of Guy Fawkes, an Englishman who tried to bomb the British Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605.

But history books didn't lead to the mask's popularity: A nearly 30-year-old graphic novel and a five-year-old movie did.

"V for Vendetta," the comic-based movie whose violent, anarchist antihero fashions himself a modern Guy Fawkes and rebels against a fascist government has become a touchstone for young protesters. While Warner Brothers holds the licensing rights to the Guy Fawkes mask, several protesters say they're using foreign-made copies to circumvent the corporation.

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