Apr 2009 24

One of the fundamental principles of a democracy is the right to protest. In a modern liberal democratic society we have all sorts of rights and freedoms that are backed up by the rule of law, fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and movement. We, the people, can voice our displeasure at any particular government policy or  perceived injustice as long as we do so in a peaceful manner, within the framework of the law. Although we should recognise that the ability to protest is a luxury in a democracy and can be vastly different under other forms of governance.

51jjn1ci9wl iraq_war_protest

Indeed a variety of methods of protest have been employed throughout human history from the non-violent philosophies of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi, to the violence of the French Revolution, from the Protestant Reformation, to the Iraq War protest. Of course there have also been occasions when various groups have sought to take direct action in defence of oppressed peoples or to highlight a particular cause such as Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party (BPP) or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka (although a distinction should be drawn here between the Tamil people and the revolutionary group). Or to take another example, would women have won the right to vote without the sacrifice made by the Suffragettes? (Check out this link to some modern day climate suffragettes.)

0129566150085 g20-protests-g20-protests-017

Now some people argue that protesting doesn ot achieve anything, that it is just annoying, especially when it disrupts the ability to work. What is clear however is that without protesting, some issues such as global poverty and the environment, would not have the coverage that they now do (even if this could be greater). So is it right to protest? Absolutely! Protesting only becomes problematic when innocent people are affected or targeted purely by association with the issue of protest.

Whilst it is naive to assume that simply protesting on an issue will get it onto the mainstream agenda, a protest is an important first step in showing that you are serious and willing to engage in constructive debate to resolve the issue. One thing is certain and that is that people will rise up and protest when they feel aggrieved or motivated sufficiently and there is no higher motivation than the potential loss of long fought for freedoms and hard earned rights.


  1. […] we right to protest in this manner? Well several members of the UK Government think so, including Prime Minister Gordon […]

  2. […] the protests were illegal whilst nationally televising rallies that support the Government. The right to protest is a fundamental part of any society, especially a democracy but Iran is not a democratic state, […]

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2007-11 Aspecks Ltd. All rights reserved. Designed with love by Kaizen Designs