poster for Operation Anaheim
Anonymous' poster for Operation Anaheim (People's Liberation Front)

Anonymous has ratcheted up its campaign against alleged police violence in Anaheim, southern California, and threatened further action against law enforcement websites and the city itself after two men died at the hands of police.

The hacktivists behind Operation Anaheim want to hit the eponymous southern California where it hurts most - in the pocket - by urging a mass tourist boycott. Anaheim is home to Disneyland and brings in 15 million visitors every year.

Operation Anaheim was sparked by police shooting dead 25-year-old Manuel Diaz and a second man and heavy-handed action by law enforcement agents at subsequent protests.

The hacktivists warned authorities that they would "attack and deface your websites, raid your data, blow up your phone lines with black faxes, bomb your e-mail inboxes, dox [expose online] your officers and destroy anything else of yours on the internet we can find".

The collective said it would urge a boycott "until all these brutal police are arrested, tried and convicted of their various crimes against the people". Disneyland attracts almost 15 million visitors every year.

One of Operation Anaheim's most prominent messages reads: "To the citizens of the world, we call upon you to show solidarity with the oppressed citizens of Anaheim, California - USA.

"Do not travel there or spend your tourist dollars in Anaheim, CA."

Another reads: "To the citizens of Anaheim, we are with you. Stand up to the police and do not accept their brutality any longer. Keep taking to the streets.

"Anonymous will do everything in our power to help and protect you, the innocent, from being brutalised under the repressive Anaheim police force."

Death squad

Violence erupted in the city over the death of Diaz, a member of Anaheim's large Latino community. He was allegedly shot twice by police in a residential area, first in the leg and then in the head.

Local police were already fending off accusations that they were running a "death squad", the Guardian reported.

When a second, unnamed, man was shot dead on 22 July, public anger grew stronger and residents took to the streets to demonstrate against police brutality.

During protests, police lost control of a dog which bit mourners and protesters.

Diaz's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city and called for further demonstrations, although it has urged the Latino community to remain calm.

The city is divided between a wealthy and conservative eastern half, Anaheim Hills, and a western half which is predominantly Latino, poor and economically depressed.

Latino community leaders have long been angry about what they call "a history of brutality" against them.

"What a lot of the press and pundits are saying about [the inequality in Anaheim] is true - there is a disparity of income between Hispanics and the affluent here, there is inequality in education, and overcrowding and gang activity," Alejandro Moreno, a member of Los Amigos of Orange County, told the Christian Science Monitor.

Solidarity marches have been scheduled in cities across the country. The Occupy Los Angeles movement is planning a mass demonstration outside Anaheim police department on 29 July.