Unmasking oppression: "V for Vendetta" masks banned in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Interior has called for the confiscation and destruction of all Guy Fawkes masks, Saudi media reported Thursday.
Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz has demanded that merchants stop importing the masks into Saudi Arabia, and that masks currently available in stores be confiscated and destroyed, according tonewspaper al-Madina.
The Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by the 2005 movie "V for Vendetta" by Andy and Lana Wachovski, has become an international symbol of anarchism and revolution. It is also an emblem of the hacktivist group Anonymous.
The mask has become particularly widespread in the Middle East to maintain anonymity during anti-government protests. Bahrain banned the Guy Fawkes mask in Februar, whereas the United Arab Emirates banned it in November, saying that anyone wearing the mask could be subjected to police questioning, Gulf News reported at the time.
All protests in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, are illegal, although demonstrations regularly take place in the central Qassim province. The government says it does not mistreat prisoners.