Although it's been more than 400 years, Guy Fawkes is still the face of protest movements. This year, there is a renewed sense of importance.
“[T]he stylized Fawkes mask has been used by protesters, including the Occupiers, WikiLeaks supporters and the hackers known as Anonymous. The mask's use has become an apolitical message that simply says it's cool to be opposed to authority and even cooler to take action against perceived repression, whether economic, political or social.”
Fawkes was born in 1570 and was an English Catholic. He fought in the Eighty Years' War on the side of Catholic Spain against Protestant Dutch reformers, according to Wikipedia.
In 1605, he helped plan to assassinate King James I and blow up British Parliament to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. However, he was caught on November 5 after an anonymous tip and later put to death.
His name has become synonymous with the failed Gunpowder Plot, which has been commemorated in England since November 5, 1605. His effigy is often burned on a bonfire and accompanied by a firework display, Wikipedia said.