A local group that’s formation is related to elements of protest and civil disobedience are trying to make themselves less threatening through good works in the area.
“We’re Anonymous Movement of Southwest Florida,” said Robert Mack, 30, of Cape Coral. Mack said the group is an offshoot of the international Anonymous movement, which is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities.
“We’re not so much on the hacking part,” he said, adding that the anonymous title is simply the group’s name.
Sunday, members of the group were in Lions Park at U.S. 41 and Llewellyn Drive, wearing the group’s signature Guy Fawkes masks (Fawkes was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and celebrated in England each Nov. 5) and cleaning playground equipment in an effort called “Operation Pay It Forward.”
Mack said the group wanted to put more of a “smiley face” on the group’s activities.
“We have a lot of community outreach that hasn’t happened yet,” he said. One event that has happened was Operation Safe Winter.
That event, at an Episcopal church in North Fort Myers in December, helped feed the homeless and provided them with blankets and a portable shower.
Sunday’s playground cleanup was an effort that the group will try to emulate around the area.
“We just want to ensure that when people come out to the community they have a clean and safe place to come out to,” Mack said,
Mary Orthodoxou, 56, of Cape Coral, said the group is also publicizing what it said was a threat to the democratic way of life. “We’re trying to make people more aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” she said. She said the TPP was an agreement being negotiated — in secret, even from Congress — between representatives of governments and giant, multinational corporations.
“It is being fast-tracked,” she said. “It would turn the sovereignty of the U.S. over to corporations.”
The group has also taken part in national marches such as the Million Mask March in November and an oil drilling protest in Collier County Saturday and plans to participate in a march against corruption in the spring.
But for now, the local group is focusing on helping the less fortunate in Southwest Florida.
“We’re trying to be a branch of what Anonymous is,” Mack said.
“We have about 150 members,” said A.J. Amedure, 27, of Fort Myers. “We are an open group with open meetings. We want to be the people’s voice.”
Mack said the group would try to clean up the entire park and then move to other things.
“Every three weeks we will do something that needs attention,” he said. “One we get more people we would like to hit residential areas and help people who have homes in disrepair who can’t afford the upkeep.”
Naples resident Jared Jones washes off a slide at Lions Park in Fort Myers Sunday. / photos by LINDSAY TERRY/THE NEWS-PRESS
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