I have witnessed several protests in my city and around the world lately. These protests were against the action taken or not taken, perceived bias by the government, organizations etc.
Residents from my locality took part in these protests. When I spoke to them as why they were protesting against the government while they are not directly affected by the proposed law changes, they said that they are doing it for the betterment of the society as a whole.
And after few days, I read in the news that protesters burned public transport buses, chocked the traffic on the road and caused delays for several hours impacting commuters and causing inconvenience to the same society they want to make better by protesting!
One of the arguments given to me is that protest is their human right given by the constitution - the same constitution that explains the citizens’ roles and responsibilities. How convenient it is for these citizens to choose one side of the constitution while choosing to ignore another!
And then there is a section of general public who are not part of these protests, but they suffer greatly even when there were not faulty. For example, Hong Kong airport was shut down during the protests; there were significant property loss in India due to protest against an amendment in the existing law.
In my view, protesters must ask themselves some questions, no matter what they are protesting for, before they bring traffic to a standstill for several hours, take over roads and buildings and cause huge trouble to the general public who has little or nothing to do with the cause of the protest.
- If this protest is absolutely necessary and justified, considering the trouble it will cause?
- Will the protest remain under control, not being taken advantage of, or diverted by criminal elements?
- Are the means of the protest, appropriate to the overall objective of the reason of protesting?
- Are you and your group prepared to take full responsibility of the consequences of the protest?
- How innocents and general public will be affected by these actions?
A protester cannot be ethical and justify him/herself if he/she acts only in his/her own interest causing huge inconvenience to the public, loss of property and resources.
I wonder how the protest will look if we respect each other? In that case, there will not be any bad words, slogans raised; there will not be any action causing inconvenience to the public and there will be a genuine attempt to understand the concern from both sides rather than just making the rules to be followed.
Was it a fair cause? And if yes, while a protest is exercising a democratic human right, what is the starting point for a protest to change into the wrong direction?
Question remains: Will there be any protests if we, every one of us aiming to have policies and laws, ensure that these laws are fair, treating people equally and respecting the individuals?
In the end, I would like to say that the protesters also require to be responsible in exercising their democratic rights, respecting laws, fair to themselves and to their fellow citizens while expressing their rejection to irresponsible and non-fair laws while being accountable for their own actions.
Picture from Pixabay