04 May 2009

Selfish children take to the streets and get in my bloody way

Brighton has been taken over today by lots of idiotic children with no respect for other people. The ‘protesters' have decided it would be a good idea to disrupt the lives of innocent (and uninterested) people by blocking roads, hurling missiles, letting off flares, smashing light bulbs, and dancing on a café roof.

And what was all this in aid of? Well it was fairly vague actually. The ‘protest' was advertised as being "against war and greed". What, just war and greed in general? How ridiculous. You can't protest against greed in general, it's an emotion. It's like protesting against feeling a bit grumpy. And who were they directing their protest at anyway? What power do the residents of Brighton have to prevent war and greed? As far as I'm aware, the city isn't at war with anyone at the moment, nor is it in charge of any multinational banks. If you really don't like Israeli foreign policy, go and protest outside the Israeli embassy. At least then it'd be vaguely relevant. Or even better, go to Gaza, and hopefully step on a landmine while you're there.

They were protesting in part about the presence of an ‘arms factory' in Brighton (which they say sells bomb-dropping equipment to Israel). Which is fine if you really want to protest about it, but the factory is on the edge of the city so why didn't they just sod off up there? Why are you protesting at the PIER??

It's just ridiculous. I hate stupid left-wing children who basically don't like "the establishment", despite the fact that they probably would have died from cholera without it years ago. Their protests end up not really being about anything (because they have no real argument), and they just do it for the sake of it, like a tantrum. And then they bleat on about their right to peaceful protest, before completely disregarding the peaceful part and inflicting wanton criminal damage on a city that really couldn't give a toss. Why attack a café? Why?? What's that got to do with it? Why block up the traffic?

I really don't get it. If people care about the cause of their protest they would already be attending it; if they don't, then getting in their way is just going to make them hate you and hate your cause by association. I now feel compelled to campaign for the presence of the arms factory in Brighton just because I'm so cross.

I feel really sorry for the police who have had to deal with it all day, having objects thrown at them and people shouting in their faces. The police haven't got anything to do with war or greed anyway, they're a domestic public organisation, and yet they have to bear the brunt of this idiotic behaviour.

The protesters should count themselves lucky they don't live in a country where they break out the water cannons and tear gas at the first sign of trouble. Their violent, antisocial, pathetic behaviour is more than deserving of a high-pressure hose in the face.


Urban Cynic said...

I completely agree; I'm sympathetic to various causes but attacking local businesses, disrupting the traffic & getting all lairy isn't going to do you any favours - it just makes people angry & more likely to oppose you rather than the cause you're tryng to highlight.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Another excellent rant!

Anonymous said...

I would just like to clear up a few issues regarding the protest. I was on the march and although the police may have seemed calm in the centre of town when we started heading out of town they were much more keen on their batons. The protest was largely good natured and many local young people joined in.

If the police had allowed the marchs progression we would have been out of the town very quickly causing minimal issues. The people dancing on the store at the pier at the end of the day were mostly local kids. We took precautions in regards to the public, for example, telling everyone to go around the childrens park rather than through it. The police were outnumbered but continually blocked routes rather than minimise disorder.

I feel the protest was proportionate given the fact the EDO factory makes weapons delivery systems to be used in illegal wars and McDonalds owns 16,000 shares in EDO. A million people or more marched in London against the war in Iraq, but it went ahead. Complying with the powers that be leaves your cause ignored; doing the opposite gets you negative publicity but you have to get the issue out somehow. If you think we got it wrong, my challenge to you is to get out on the streets and show us how its done.

superlative said...

That was rather lazily copy-pasted from the Argus website, Anonymous.

I don't accept your clearing up of a few issues. I prefer to base my opinion on what I saw, rather than your biased account that conveniently distances yourself from any illegality; what I saw was violence and vandalism that made a mockery of the right to peaceful protest and did nothing to advance the protesters' so-called cause.

If the police tell you to take a different route, you take a different route. If the organisers had informed the police of your planned route and expected numbers, they could have manned the correct streets appropriately and with a proportionate number of officers to protect people and property.

I don't accept your claim of illegal wars, even if I do think those decisions were poorly made. And I don't think whatever wars you are referring to would immediately grind to a halt even if EDO did stop producing the tiny part of it that they are involved with. If your issue is with British military action, direct your protest at the government. If it is with Israeli action, direct it at the Israelis. And if your problem really is with EDO, then perhaps you should have considered going vaguely near their premises. You say complying with the powers that be leaves your cause ignored; I'm sure EDO will not find it difficult at all to ignore a protest two miles away.

And I don't need to get out on the streets thank you, as I have nothing to protest about, so your last sentence is rather asinine. You are however at least consistent.

Chris said...

Perhaps Anonymous, you could tell us *why* you felt protesting against greed was useful or relevant, and if you think there will be a sharp reduction in the level of greed exhibited by the human race following your march.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Superlative,

It was indeed lazily copied and pasted from the newspaper site because I wrote the comment and felt it equally applied here. You bring up a number of issues including the fact that I was distancing my self from illegality, this is not the case, I agree with some well targeted direct action. I do however distance myself from some of the kids from Brighton that were disrespectful and just joined in because it look “fun”.

The police target those that agree to stand up and be organizers at demonstrations and have often made it hard for people to conduct protests in a suitable way. Thus letting the police know about protests seems to have become unpopular.

The demo was heading to EDO, it was the police that made everyone return to town, if the police had not attacked people as soon as we left town we would have soon been out of your way.

Hello Chris,

Well, I didn't say we were protesting against greed.

As to the issue around whether the demo was effective, as a small part of an ongoing campaign I think the demo may play a small part in social change. It is hard to tell what will and will not work, often even bad publicity can lead to a rise in support for a little thought about cause or issue. Often us protesters find changes will happen from strange and unpopular places.

superlative said...

I refer you to the Smash EDO website where your protest is entitled "Mayday! Mayday! Mass Street Party Against War and Greed".

So yes it was against greed, apparently, it says so in the title. Or did you not bother to check what you were protesting about?

And judging by the reaction of most people I've spoken to, I'd say your protest has only led to a marked drop in support for your cause and the loss of whatever small amount of respect people may have had for Smash EDO as a genuine movement for change.