Two protesters who claim ties to the “Anonymous” movement said police barred them from wearing the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask into the Oklahoma statehouse.
One of the men, who gave his name as Michael, said police told them a new rule prohibited the masks but could not tell them any more details, reported the Tulsa World.
Lawmakers are considering an amendment to a law against wearing masks or hoods while committing a crime that would essentially ban masks or other disguises while in public – with several exceptions, such as Halloween and parades.
The earlier law was a response to Ku Klux Klan activities around the time it was passed, in 1923.
The new bill, which has not yet been passed or signed into law, was reportedly prompted by a demonstration by Anonymous members last year at the Capitol that apparently alarmed some legislators and their staff.
The bill became known as the “hoodie ban” because it appeared to ban hooded sweatshirts worn in public, but the amendment covers any intentional act done to conceal a person’s identity in public – even if they’re not otherwise doing anything wrong.
The measure, which is still up for debate, makes exceptions for holiday celebrations, religious observance, safety or medical purposes, and some other activities – such as sports mascots.
Michael, who declined to give his last name for fear of retaliation, admits that he and his friend were being “mouthy,” but he said they were not threatening anyone.
Joanna Francisco, an Anonymous representative who spoke against the bill at a Libertarian Party event, said Americans have a right to anonymity.
If the bill is passed its current form, violators may be fined between $50 and $500 sentenced to up to one year in jail.