Critics of the Church of Scientology picketed the organisation’s Dublin headquarters yesterday, as part of a worldwide campaign by opponents of the religion.
The protest on Middle Abbey Street was the latest in a series of protests by Anonymous Ireland, which describes itself as a ‘‘grassroots collective’’ of people who oppose Scientology. More than 100 masked protesters attended the first Dublin protest in February.
Anonymous organizations protested at more than 130 Church of Scientology centres worldwide yesterday. In a statement, the organisation said the protests were ‘‘against the Church of Scientology’s corruption, and its abuse of its members and critics’’.
‘‘The global protests against the Church of Scientology hope to put an end to its fraud and abuses,” the statement said. ‘‘To that end, Anonymous is informing the public of the Church’s practices, raising awareness about Scientology and its various front groups. This is also putting pressure on its ability to recruit new members to sustain its cash flow.”
The protesters claim they remain anonymous because of fears of intimidation and legal threats. The Church of Scientology has described Anonymous as ‘‘a group of cyber-terrorists who hide their identities behind masks and computer anonymity’’.
As well as the worldwide protests, Anonymous has taken action against the Church of Scientology on the internet, including the manipulation of search engines to return the Scientology website when users type ‘‘dangerous cult’’.
The church forced YouTube, the internet video site, to remove a video showing actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise hailing Scientology as ‘‘a blast’’.
YouTube and other sites removed it under threat of litigation by the church, which claimed copyright infringement.