From the shadows, Anonymous battles Scientology

With their dark suits, leering masks and signs warning of what they call the “cult” of Scientology, the protest group Anonymous may startle a few visitors to Millennium Park on Saturday.

But that’s what the participants are hoping for.

“Outfits and the outrageous help get people’s attention,” said Eric Szulczewski of Clarendon Hills, one of a few members of Anonymous willing to give his name.

An Internet-based group that claims more than 10,000 members worldwide, Anonymous has assembled in the downtown park four times to criticize the Church of Scientology, arousing the curiosity of onlookers and the consternation of Scientologists. The church has called it a cyber-terrorist organization, and members have been known to show up and monitor the protests.

Once they have peoples’ attention, Szulczewski said, Anonymous delivers its message: that Scientology exploits its followers and encourages harm to outsiders. Scientologists counter that Anonymous is ignorant about their religion and has committed serious crimes against their church and others.