‘Anonymous’ masked protest leads to arrests at State Captiol

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The group “Anonymous” held its annual, worldwide, Million Mask March Tuesday.

Here in Oklahoma, the protesters ran into trouble with troopers at the State Capitol.

The group marches to protest against government corruption.

Members like Michael Nicholas said the trooper trouble started with the very mask the group uses as a symbol of unity.

“The mask stands for solidarity of a group,” Nicholas said. “We all understand why were here no matter what our personal reasons are, the ideology behind it is the same. The principles, the guiding principles behind it are positive change, the restoration and preservation of liberty and freedom and individual rights.”

The group walked into the State Capitol with those masks on but one member didn’t want to take his off.

“He chose to go inside the Capitol building, and when he did, he hit a security check point,” Nicholas said. “They asked him to take off his mask. He had asked them a few times, ‘Are you going to arrest me if I don’t?’ and they gave very ambiguous answers, didn’t flat-out say, ‘Yes. Take it off or we’ll arrest you.’ So he went ahead and walked through and they cuffed him.”

Trooper Betsy Randolph said that’s because it’s illegal to wear a mask in public.

“There are several reasons for that,” she said. “Usually folks who hide their identity are planning to do something criminal in nature.”

The member who wouldn’t remove his mask was cited and released.

Once the security situation inside the Capitol settled down, the group came outside to protest.

That’s when things heated up a second time.

Troopers said some people started tearing down barricades.

They arrested Josie Dorman, Judd Cooper, Charles Columbus, Gary White and one juvenile.

Nicholas said the protesters who didn’t stay peaceful should be held accountable.

“[That’s] not in the scope of what we came there to do, and it detracted from that, and stole from that, and it took from that,” said Nicholas.

The five arrested could face charges of destroying state property, violating a protest permit and obstruction of a peace officer.