100 turn out in Orlando, Florida for "Anonymous" protest against Church of Scientology
Monday, February 4, 2008
The group "Anonymous" formed a movement called Project Chanology in response to what it views as suppression of freedom of speech on the Internet by the Church of Scientology. The group was initially motivated by the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from the Internet. The Church of Scientology issued legal complaints to YouTube and to Gawker.com; YouTube took the video down, but Gawker has refused to do so.
Project Chanology participants successfully took down several Scientology websites in mid-January utilizing denial-of-service attacks. The group has organized a series of nonviolent protests to take place outside Church of Scientology centers worldwide on February 10, 2008. There are expected to be at least 217 protests taking place on the 10th outside Church of Scientology buildings around the globe, including New York City, Montreal, Houston, London, Melbourne, and Los Angeles.
Protestors at the Orlando, Florida rally held signs with messages including "Knowledge is Free Scientology Isn't", "Who Is Lisa McPherson?", "www.xenu.net", and "Honk if you hate Scientology." An unnamed organizer of the rally told the Orlando Sentinel that the group is protesting "a gross violation of the right to see free church material," referring to the Tom Cruise video the Church of Scientology attempted to suppress. According to WKMG-TV, protestors claim the Church of Scientology is a "dangerous cult" and said the organization is responsible for crimes and deaths.
Dr. Lee Sheldon of the Church of Scientology of Orlando released a statement regarding the protests: "While we recognize the right to legal protest, when such protest escalates to spreading lies and hate speech, it is a concern for everyone. We look forward to continuing to provide service to the city of Orlando and Central Florida."
According to a post from a protestor to the online newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, Scientologists complained to the police during the protest that the event should be shut down for advocating "hate speech", but the Orlando Sentinel reported that police monitored the event and made no arrests.
|...everything looked peaceful and I want to say nice job and I hope everything goes as smoothly on February 10th.|
Mark Bunker of XenuTV.com had previously criticized Project Chanology for the denial-of-service attacks against Scientology websites, but in a YouTube video post on Sunday, Bunker spoke positively of Saturday's nonviolent protest in Florida. "I saw a video today from Orlando and there were a hundred and fifty people out on Saturday to protest and it looked like a lot of fun. Got a lot of car honks and everything looked peaceful and I want to say nice job and I hope everything goes as smoothly on February 10th. I have to say a hundred and fifty people in Orlando that's pretty impressive. Can't wait to see what happens at other cities around the country and around the world actually."
Related news 
- "Church of Scientology: '"Anonymous' will be stopped"" — Wikinews, February 4, 2008
- ""Anonymous" plans to protest Church of Scientology on February 10" — Wikinews, January 29, 2008
- "711chan.org administrator calls for an end to attacks on Scientology" — Wikinews, January 28, 2008
- "'The Regime' hacks 711chan.org in response to 'Anonymous' attack on Scientology; takes web site off line" — Wikinews, January 27, 2008
- ""Anonymous" releases statements outlining "War on Scientology"" — Wikinews, January 23, 2008
- "Hackers attack Church of Scientology website" — Wikinews, January 20, 2008
- "Tom Cruise Scientology promotional video leaked to the Internet" — Wikinews, January 17, 2008
- Patrick Barkham. "Hackers declare war on Scientologists amid claims of heavy-handed Cruise control" — , February 4, 2008
- "Anonymous". "147 Floridians call out Scientology" — , February 4, 2008
- Helen Eckinger, Gabrielle Finley and Katherine Norris. "Anti-Scientology group has protest rally" — , February 3, 2008
- "Group Lines Road To Protest Church Of Scientology" — , February 3, 2008
- Mark Bunker. "Scientology: XENU TV Hurls Down the Gauntlet" — , February 3, 2008
- "Anonymous". "Project Chanology/Target IRL/Scheduled Protests and Raids" — , February 3, 2008
- Fear Not. "Picket in Orlando today. Great turnout!!!" — , February 2, 2008
- "Anonymous". "OrlandoAnonymous" — , February 2, 2008