London Olympics Protesters Suspended From TwitterBy: Chris Richardson - May 24, 2012
As you might expect, not everyone in England is welcoming the Olympics with open arms. So much so, in fact, there’s an official protest movement which can be found at ProtestLondon2012.com. This “Official Protesters” collective is overseen by a group called the Space Hijackers. For those who are unaware, the Space Hijackers refer to themselves as anarchitects, and their state goal is as follows:
Our group is dedicated to battling the constant oppressive encroachment onto public spaces of institutions, corporations and urban planners. We oppose the way that public space is being eroded and replaced by corporate profit making space.
A noble cause, unless your on the side of the corporations.
Considering the group’s perpsective, it should come as no surprise that the Space Hijackers are firmly against the London bending over backwards to welcome the Olympics. You can read a lot more about why the group is against the London Olympics here, but suffice to say, it has little do with the athletic events and more to do with stuff like this, from the awesomely-named Tumblr, Nipplelick (the link is SFW, but its index page may not be).
The Official Protesters even have t-shirts:
The group is also incredibly active in the world of social media, including an active Twitter account. Their tweeting, however, was temporarily suspended the other day due to a trademark complaint by the “Locog,” aka, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Space Hijackers were informed by a polite email from Twitter’s team, emphasizing the trademark complaint, as opposed to making this a free speech issue:
That, however, did not erase the stink of censorship, or, as the Space Hijackers so eloquently put it:
Twitter, the beacon of free speech which so vocally lent it’s support to the Arab Spring did, of course, what everyone expected and immediately curtailed to the interests of big money and business. We, The Official Protesters, were immediately locked out of our account, losing access to thousands of followers, in a move designed to silence our dissent.
From there, reaction exploded at an exponential rate across the Internet newsreel, which, in part led to the restoration of the Space Hijackers Twitter account. Apparently, however, they had to return their Olympic medals:
While the speech blocking aspects cannot be ignored, the fact that Twitter was
slick wise enough to go trademark confusion as their reasoning no doubt absolves them of any wrongdoing, at least to them. That, however, does not reflect the Space Hijackers’ point of view, who made this known on their Twitter description:
We reject any ‘Trademark Connection’ or ‘Brand Affiliation’ Locog tries to make to us. Seriously guys it’s getting embarrassing, stop trying to make friends.
With that in mind, how does it feel knowing that Twitter acquiesced to the requests of a group clearly trying to silence any outspoken protest against the London Olympics, especially when the protest group does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy involved in hosting these celebrations of athletics? Granted, the power was turned back on soon enough, but the fact that Twitter suspended the account in the first place is troubling.
But then again, perhaps we should’ve seen this coming.