Thursday, November 10, 2011

UK Protests : What's the point?

Since the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives, there have been so many protests in the UK. Discussing them with some of my friends, we wondered whether there was any point in these protests since they didn't change anything and in several cases, actually resulted in violence, disorder and looting.

Among the major ones were:

2010 UK student protests - 10, 24 and 30 November and 9 December. Peaceful protest that turned violent.

Pension reform protests. Violence breaks out again.

2011 Student tuition fees protests – 9 November. Relatively peaceful this time as compared to last year.

And of course we can't forget the recent riots between 6 and 10 August 2011, which started off as a peaceful march on 6 August 2011 related to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police on 4 August 2011 and ended in widespread looting and the death of Five people.

The Occupy London protests are still going on: with tents set up one outside St Paul's Cathedral in Central London and the other in Finsbury Square just to the north.

And it looks like more protests and strikes are on the way - Public sector workers have also decided to go on strike on 30 November over the government’s public sector pension changes.

The question is whether any of these protests had any positive impact.

Whatever sympathy that people had for the students mostly dried up after seeing the images of violence on TV and in the newspapers. The student fees still went up. Mark Duggan is all but forgotten and most people were not even aware that people were protesting outside St Paul's Cathedral until the chancellor followed by the dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London resigned.

My friend tells me that these incidents show that democracy is well and alive in the UK but what's the point if these protests didn't actually achieve anything.

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