Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Is There Such a Thing as a Peaceful Protest?

I was reading an article on the G20 police tactics, one of the commentators said - There is no such thing as a peaceful protest any more - I was about to just dismiss the statement having attended some, yet they are becoming more direct and volatile, why? There are obliviously two sides to this directness from the police and the protester.

Some demonstrators have become more direct because they are not being listened to, some have always been more direct, others which accounts for the majority just want a voice. People do not take to the streets without a message or criticism, ignoring it leads people to raise their voice to be heard, as you leave them little choice to do otherwise.

The police directness has largely stemmed from being armed with anti terror legislation which is too broadly defined, thus it often includes and criminalises the public: police photographers take pictures of the crowd, people are arrested under anti terror laws rather than public disorder, activist groups have police informers now and all this information is then stored on databases. Which just insights distrust and a mass of people can turn aggressive very quickly if they feel threaten.

Trust on both sides has eroded to the point that you're just waiting for something to happen, like an "us and them" mentality. There is no clear line now between right and wrong, terrorist laws have made it so subjective, it's become a trump card for everything. A balance need to be restored for trust to build upon, as it's become like the only people who are subject to law are the public.

The report out today says police tactics need a national overhaul, I would say mentality needs the overhaul. Protests would be less volatile if laws that put too much power in the hands of the police, without the accountability needed were addressed. No one is guarding the guards.

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