Political protests give individuals a voice. They provide the opportunity for members of the public to use a multitude of methods to express dissatisfaction with the status quo. However, when these protests disrupt everyday life and/or result in violence, does that give cause for them to be banned?

In Australia, Scott Morrison is considering passing a law to limit free speech, to target climate groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Climate groups have become more prolific in Australia and around the world as they extend their actions in attempts to create legislative change. Recently, the busy streets of Brisbane were blockaded by protests, leaving the city in gridlock and frustrating the general public. If a law is passed by the government to limit the movement of protests, it will threaten the rights of individuals. Protests are essential to society and must be maintained, however; I would challenge Mr Morrison to adopt an approach of compromise towards the protestors rather than condemnation.

What if the protests involve violence? For current protester leaders, to encourage violence would be both morally unjustified and a serious tactical mistake as support could easily sway towards to government. It could help legitimise harsher methods by security forces in response. Violence against protests by armed forces creates a difficult decision. No protest is ever going to be able to defeat an armed force but standing defenceless also ceases to solve any problem. In this case, I don’t believe that entering into a protest is the right option. If your goal is to persuade the public and increase support for reform, any type of armed conflict will any exacerbate the tension and lead to an undesirable resolution. This is where political protests should not be banned, but lobby groups should look to other mediums to generate support.

Political protests are vital to the functioning of society and should remain legal. If politicians are displeased with the actions of protestors, their response should focus upon compromise rather than threats. Politicians must also remember that the protests have a purpose. Often, they use the useless details such as one small act of violence to distract from the main aim of the protest. If you want the protests to stop, listen to them.

Martin Luther King stated, “He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it”.

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3 thoughts on “Should we ban political protests?

  1. I agree with a lot of points you have made here – political protest is essential to society, and you only have to look throughout history to see how impactful political protest can be in initiating positive change.
    However, I think climate change protest is slightly different, as while I think that action has to be taken against climate change, the protests against climate change has produced the opposite effect as intended. Instead of harnessing support for the cause, many people are now becoming frustrated with the topic and may no longer take it as seriously as it should be taken. Because the climate change protests continue to interfere with individual people going about their everyday lives, I think it has caused many people to become frustrated with the cause and lose interest in finding methods to combat climate change that are both easily applied to everyday life and take into account current economical situations, etc. While being able to immediately switch to all forms of renewable, sustainable energy and abandon harmful forms of energy would be ideal, it’s just not practical and I think instead of protesting, we need to focus on finding a good solution that could work to drastically reduce climate change.
    This is just my opinion, but after going through your blog you’ve put forward some really interesting points/discussions, and I’m keen to read more in the future 🙂


    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes I totally agree with you. I am not an advocate for protests, however; I can understand why people feel obliged to protest when the government blatantly refuses to listen to communities. That is always my fear with protests, and groups such as extinction rebellion, that they harm the cause. Especially for older generations who aren’t as familiar with climate change. Any excuse is a good excuse for them. But yes, I completely agree that looking for other solutions would be more effective than protests. I just think Scott Morrison’s response to the protests was inadequate and disappointing. We need to address the issue now. Thank you again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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