23 February 2015 00:00
On August 9, 2014, at 5:09 P.M. local time, Kareem (Tef Poe) Jackson, a rapper and activist from Dellwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, tweeted about a crisis unfolding in a neighboring town. “Basically martial law is taking place in Ferguson all perimeters blocked coming and going,” he wrote. “National and international friends Help!!!” Five hours earlier in Ferguson, an unarmed eighteen-year-old African-American, Michael Brown, had been shot to death by a white police officer.
Within two hours, Jackson received a reply from a Twitter account called « CommanderXanon. » Commander X appealed to the most visible Anonymous Twitter account, YourAnonNews, which has 1.3 million followers. “Please support Operation Ferguson,” he wrote. A minute later, YourAnonNews complied. That day, the hashtag #OpFerguson was tweeted more than six thousand times.
The crisis became a top news story, and Anons rallied around Operation Ferguson. As with the Arab Spring operations, Anonymous sent electronic care packages to protesters on the ground, including a riot guide (“Pick up the gas emitter and lob it back at the police”) and printable Guy Fawkes masks. As Jackson and other protesters marched through Ferguson, the police attempted to subdue them with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Kareem (Tef Poe) Jackson: “It looked like a scene from a Bruce Willis movie.” ... “Barack Obama hasn’t supported us to the degree Anonymous has.” ... “It’s comforting to know that someone out there has your back.”