MADRID (Dow Jones)–A group of hackers tied to a series of security breaches on websites across the world said Sunday it attacked the Spanish police’s main website in retaliation for the recent arrest of three alleged members of the group.
In a statement sent to local media and posted on several websites, alleged representatives of the “Anonymous” group said they plan to keep the fight against Spain’s “corrupt” state.
They also rejected police claims that the three who were detained across Spain are in any way leaders of the movement, saying “Anonymous” has no leadership. Police released the three after being charged Friday.
“Our minds, ideas and words are our weapons. Police has no other obligation than protecting the people,” the statement written in Spanish said. “And the people can’t be protected from itself.”
The statement added that “Anonymous” attacked the police website at 2230 GMT, in a denial-of-service attempt to put the website offline. That attack came after police said it has no evidence that the detained were tied to a high-profile theft of Sony customers’ data earlier this year, but added the three tried to steal and publish what it called “sensitive data” about Spanish politicians and policemen.
Police also said the trio was looking to release the data on Web pages set up by sympathizers of ETA, the terrorist group that has been seeking Basque independence and suspected to have killed over 800 people over the last four decades. Earlier claims said that the three who were detained had helped to coordinate massive attacks on international websites.
In response, Anonymous said Sunday that it seeks to defend freedom of expression and transparency, from a pacifist standpoint. “We are not terrorists. We are citizens fighting for rights that have been coerced,” the statement said.
The detentions have caused a controversy in Spain, where many messages in support of the hackers have been posted in social networks and chat rooms. Many of these supporters criticized the police’s description of the detainees, mocking the idea that they are in any way leading Anonymous’ activities. The most prominent of these expressions of support came from Real Democracy Now, a loosely organized group that has been coordinating protests against political corruption and economic austerity measures.
In a statement on its website, the group said it is “outraged by media manipulation and the actions of security forces” regarding the Anonymous detentions, and asked for charges to be dropped against the three who were arrested.