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Councillor Davod Harrison

Appropriate Protest?

Brexit Party
Brexit Party

Being of a Liberal disposition, I think the right to protest is a very important thing.

Being an amateur student of psychology, I am also fascinated by the way people respond to such protests.

The whole Brexit affair exposes how people think, how the prejudices they have influence they way they respond and I am by no means insulated myself from this.

When I joined the big anti Brexit marches in London, I felt a very strong bond of kinship with the thousands of people who joined in.

It was very hard not to be impressed with the sheer size of the protests.

However, I wasn’t surprised when the reaction of those who think Brexit is a good or necessary thing was to downplay its’ significance and claim that it wasn’t so nearly well supported as it was.

More recently, we saw two different forms of protest at the European Parliament.

The yellow shirts of the Lib Dem MEP’s, some with Anglo-Saxon slogans, was condemned by people who didn’t agree with campaigning to stay in the EU.

Stop Brexit

Stop Brexit

It was widely praised by those who do.

Similarly, the actions of the Brexit MEP’s, turning their backs on the EU anthem, was widely praised by people who support Brexit, but condemned by those who don’t.

There are also a lot of people who say both forms of protest are “childish” and that it’s typical of politicians that they waste time and energy participating in protest action when they should be getting on with their jobs.

It is a sort of claim to the moral high ground, justifying why they hate politics and no longer vote for any of them.

In trying to form any reasonable view of protest action, I think that we have to remind ourselves what happens whenever a dictatorship takes over from democracy.

Peaceful protest of the type that has taken place is clamped down upon and even abolished.

I think many people fear that China is about to impose its’ will upon the protestors in Hong Kong who are standing up for the right of Hong Kong citizens to keep freedoms and human rights it has.

We can continue to judge protest action by our own values and preferences but let us at least recognise the “right” to peaceful protest.

All to often, our freedoms are taken for granted.


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