The power of protests


Image courtesy- University of Westminster Journalism students

Governments the world over have been toppled by protesting citizens.

From the Indian independence movement to Anti Vietnam war protests, they’ve all had an impact. Some attribute the birth of hippy culture to these protests as people in America got disillusioned with regular life and looked for alternative lifestyles.

Are new age protestors more interested in getting in touch with their rebellious, hippy side rather than just focusing on the issue at hand?

Of the thousands of UK citizens who turned up to protest against the University tuition fee increase some may have turned up for those reasons.

Protestors screamed at the police officers, “Shame on you, you went to University for free.”  From a peaceful protests,it turned into a raucous party, with violins playing and drummers drumming, people climbing on top of vans and being boisterous.

Bibi Van der Zee from central London told the Guardian, “Wow, atmosphere in Trafalgar Square fantastic – excited students and school kids all over Nelson’s base and the lions, singing: “Fuck David Cameron” very, very loudly. The excitement of bunking off school AND climbing public statues AND swearing in front of police very obvious. “

Ayrton Allen, an Undergraduate student at the University of Westminster says, “”I do regret not taking part (in the previous protest). My friends went and they had a lot of fun. It seemed like it was all for a good cause”.

For many it is a legitimate issue as it directly affects students and effectively makes it very hard for someone with not a lot of money to get a decent higher education.

But protests also allow us to express everything that we’re feeling without taking real responsibility for our actions. A police van was vandalized and policemen were attacked with sticks and bottles.

Image courtesy- University of Westminster Journalism students

Demonstrations like these definitely don’t need to get violent but the excitement often overwhelms the people involved and the crowd gives individuals the confidence to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

In instances like these self-restraint is important and the real issue must not get forgotten as demonstrations can turn into public carnivals.

Another reason protests are so effective is because of the impact they have on individuals. Psychologists at the University of Sussex carried out tests that prove people actually feel happy even years later simply thinking about their participation and the memories of the protests.

Protests are really powerful, for society and the individual both that is why they must be taken very, very seriously.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good observation Chandni. Just don’t get arrested 🙂

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