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    (Original post by Gesar)
    You think it's useful to have a couple of hundred very loud people clogging the streets, using police resources and altering traffic flow through an already extremely congested area?

    Yes, we all know what's happening and none of us like it, but nothing's going to change because they held up signs saying 'The World is Watching' (When in fact even the local news wasn't) and marched around a bit. I would -like- to free Palestine, but tbh they've kind of picked the wrong target market for their protest.
    Yeh, I very much agree with this. The protests in London get media attention and raise awareness but it's a bit silly in cambridge. But it is a free country so they have the right to regardless of whether it annoys me on my way to my weekly grocery shop :p:
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    I think the protestors time and energy would be better served having collections for Islamic Relief/Red Cross/Red Crescent etc that are actually *in* Gaza helping civillians.
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    (Original post by Gesar)
    You think it's useful to have a couple of hundred very loud people clogging the streets, using police resources and altering traffic flow through an already extremely congested area?

    Yes, we all know what's happening and none of us like it, but nothing's going to change because they held up signs saying 'The World is Watching' (When in fact even the local news wasn't) and marched around a bit. I would -like- to free Palestine, but tbh they've kind of picked the wrong target market for their protest.
    Would a couple of hundred quiet people be more appropriate then, because they are submissive in their opinion? Police resources are intended to serve and protect the population, in addition to the fact that there is no possibility that "police resources" will "run-out" -that is a lazy argument that only reveals how little you understand about the provisioning of public services.

    If it is "congested" it is only due to the weight of shopping traffic. Do these shoppers have a valid right to use a public space when protesters do not? The town centre was pedestrianized for the very purpose of permitting people to congregate, not simply to feed some desire to fill a bag with cheap consumables in silence. You should remember that the UN declaration on human rights permits the right to congress in public.
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    Anyway I'm annoyed how everyone gets irritated and complains when its a political demonstration, but nobody cares about the noise and the crowds when its some tacky commercial thing instead! I suppose the commercial thing doesn't remind them of stuff they don't like thinking about.

    And no I'm not being 'sanctimonius', I'm just commenting on human psychology. I did an essay early last term titled 'Assess the view that tv's representation of distant suffering can lead to the rise of a cosmopolitan public.' I really enjoyed the reading, which focused precisely on this kind of issue.

    (Original post by minimo)
    I think the protestors time and energy would be better served having collections for Islamic Relief/Red Cross/Red Crescent etc that are actually *in* Gaza helping civillians.
    They did have collections at the London protest. Can't comment on this one obviously because I'm in my room in pyjamas.
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    and talking about disruptive things...everyone should pop into the Grand Arcade on Jan 31st between 11-12 - singers from CUOS' production of Tchaicovsky's Eugene Onegin will be Onegin and you'll probably see me running around like a mad thing trying to get things organised for ittt.
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    (Original post by Catsmeat)
    Would a couple of hundred quiet people be more appropriate then, because they are submissive in their opinion? Police resources are intended to serve and protect the population, in addition to the fact that there is no possibility that "police resources" will "run-out" -that is a lazy argument that only reveals how little you understand about the provisioning of public services.
    None at all would be more appropriate imo. It's a random protest, in an area where everyone obviously knows about what's going on, but can do nothing about it. Not even a TV camera to 'Get their message across'. I doubt anyone outside of a 2 mile radius of the city centre of Cambridge will ever know this happened.

    I'm not saying police resources will run out. I'm saying the four or five police officers they have to have there to make sure the protest doesn't turn into a riot could do much more help patrolling. I've been in trouble before and would have -loved- to have a police officer patrolling somewhere nearby. (In an area where they are usually patrolling). If I found out this was because some people wanted to have a little march rather than there not being enough police officers/funding to go round, then I'd be much more furious than I am about it.

    If it is "congested" it is only due to the weight of shopping traffic. Do these shoppers have a valid right to use a public space when protesters do not? The town centre was pedestrianized for the very purpose of permitting people to congregate, not simply to feed some desire to fill a bag with cheap consumables in silence. You should remember that the UN declaration on human rights permits the right to congress in public.
    They're closing roads for them.
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    (Original post by Athena)
    Personally, I find protests aggressive and unpleasant in their atmosphere, especially the recent Gaza protest in Oxford. It's the way everyone's getting whipped up and deliberately causing the biggest, most noticeable (circular) obstruction possible, glaring at those who DO just want to walk past. I'm glad I'm not Jewish at the moment, I can imagine if you were wearing obviously Jewish clothing that it would be intimidating to walk through.

    I have protested on things, but I tend to do it by writing to my MP and supporting charities instead, because I don't like feeling intimidated by rallies/protests, so wouldn't do that to someone else.
    The protest I went to in London had 50 000 people present (by conservative police estimate at the time) and it was very pleasant, friendly, communal and not aggressive at all. Ironically right at the very end when it got to the Embassy there was a bit of havoc because the police circled around the group who remained and closed in on them, and people got very claustrophobic and panicked. (they were cornered and forced hurried through a confined space) George Galloway and his daughter and those near him also got shoved about by the police on the tube going from Trafalgar Square to the Embassy.

    That night the BBC article said absolutely nothing of the hours of positive and extremely peaceful protest throughout the day and focused purely on the bit at the end, not mentioning anything of the police's bullying.

    The purpose is clearly to feed into public opinion, reassuring them that protests are a very bad thing, that they're aggressive and hostile etc etc. Which is precisely what people want to feel about it.

    So unless all of you have been involved in any of these protests, or have other firsthand experience - you have been encouraged to think what you do by the media.
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    (Original post by Athena)
    I have protested on things, but I tend to do it by writing to my MP and supporting charities instead, because I don't like feeling intimidated by rallies/protests, so wouldn't do that to someone else.
    I completely agree. It's just a horribly unpleasant atmosphere with all the people stomping/marching around and shouting out their little rhythms. There's absolutely no need for it. It's generating ridiculous over-crowding in the centre of town and shows no appreciation for people who would rather not have it thrown in their face at every opportunity. I appreciate these people feel strongly, as do I, but there are much better ways of doing things than congregating in a town centre and intimidating passers by.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    So unless all of you have been involved in any of these protests, or have other firsthand experience - you have been encouraged to think what you do by the media.
    :confused: Are you really saying that someone can't find a group of angry people shouting as they walk past intimidating without being brainwashed by the media?

    Doesn't matter what it's like on the angry people's side of the picket, people on the other side of the picket can find you intimidating of their own accord.
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    woooo I dont have to go to the UL. yay, i have tummy ache and soooo didnt fancy it
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    (Original post by Gesar)
    :confused: Are you really saying that someone can't find a group of angry people shouting as they walk past intimidating without being brainwashed by the media?

    Doesn't matter what it's like on the angry people's side of the picket, people on the other side of the picket can find you intimidating of their own accord.
    No. I'm saying that the protest I spent several hours in was not angry. It was relaxed and had a bit of organised singing and chanting.
    It was orderly and cooperative and certainly not a mob!

    And no people don't have those sentiments because they are brainwashed. Its a mutually reinforced process. The media tells people what they want to hear, and people use this to confirm what they wanted to think about it beforehand.
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    we used to have palestine bake sales in school. that was cool

    i feel bad for being an SPSer and having an 'am i bovvered' attitude to things like political protest :o:
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    (Original post by Apagg)
    Similarly, protests against Israel serve no purpose other than to make you feel better about yourself. At least protest against the British support for Israel, or better yet, don't get in my way when I'm trying to mind my own business.
    The protest was also against British support for Israel. Maybe if you listened to the protesters you'd hear that there were demands for a weapons embargo against Israel and the expulsion of the ambassador among other things.

    (Original post by minimo)
    I think the protestors time and energy would be better served having collections for Islamic Relief/Red Cross/Red Crescent etc that are actually *in* Gaza helping civillians.
    There were collections for charities operating in Palestine. And they collected a hell of a lot more then they would have done had a couple of people stood around quietly about it.

    I don't think anyone thought that this protest makes much of a difference on it's own but this is a small part of a wider campaign. There weren't actually many students there. Part of the reason seems to be it was very poorly publicised among the student population outside of some of the quite cliquey groups.

    And to be intimidated by the peaceful protest today is quite frankly pathetic and there are plenty of countries in the world you could go to instead, where you wouldn't encounter such pesky intrusions.
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    (Original post by Athena)
    That doesn't mean that the Oxford protest was the same, does it? And I'd thank you not to insult my intelligence - I'm well aware it's in the interests of various public bodies to spread a feeling that protests are bad or unpleasant. That doesn't mean I suddenly lose the ability to distinguish between a protest with a positive atmosphere, and a protest with a threatening one.
    My observation is not directed at individuals in this thread - I'm commenting about society in general. It applies as much to me as it does to anyone else. My opinions are also formed in the same way, and vulnerable to how the media conveys things.

    I'm not arguing that the protest you encountered wasn't as you say it was. I'm arguing that they shouldn't all be painted with the same brush, and dismissed simply because of that single experience.

    And I apologise - I certainly don't intend to insult anybody's intelligence.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    And no people don't have those sentiments because they are brainwashed. Its a mutually reinforced process. The media tells people what they want to hear, and people use this to confirm what they wanted to think about it beforehand.
    That wasn't my point. My point was that you seem to think there's no way people could have found a group of people marching down the street chanting intimidating to walk past without first being brainwashed. It doesn't matter if -you- think it was all nice and friendly. Football fans en masse can be nice and friendly but people walking past them can still feel intimidated. You seem to think that because you didn't find it a bad experience, no one could without being brain-washed. It doesn't matter if you -are- being violent, just like it doesn't matter if the football fans en masse are being violent or radically anti-social, people are able to not like walking past them.

    EDIT: Can;t even remember how it got on to this.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    The protest I went to in London had 50 000 people present (by conservative police estimate at the time) and it was very pleasant, friendly, communal and not aggressive at all. Ironically right at the very end when it got to the Embassy there was a bit of havoc because the police circled around the group who remained and closed in on them, and people got very claustrophobic and panicked. (they were cornered and forced hurried through a confined space) George Galloway and his daughter and those near him also got shoved about by the police on the tube going from Trafalgar Square to the Embassy.

    That night the BBC article said absolutely nothing of the hours of positive and extremely peaceful protest throughout the day and focused purely on the bit at the end, not mentioning anything of the police's bullying.

    The purpose is clearly to feed into public opinion, reassuring them that protests are a very bad thing, that they're aggressive and hostile etc etc. Which is precisely what people want to feel about it.

    So unless all of you have been involved in any of these protests, or have other firsthand experience - you have been encouraged to think what you do by the media.
    My friend was policing the pro-Pal protest in London, and according to him they had the specials at the front until the crowd starting getting ugly and throwing projectiles, at which point the riot police turned up. I've no doubt the majority are peaceful, but there always seems to be a hardcore group of "anarchists" who turn up just for a chance to attack the police
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    In response to the wider arguments:
    I guess my frustration is that its seems petty and intolerant (as Eye's post said) for people to be objecting about such a small thing, in light of what its for: 1 - Raising a public voice. 2 - Campaigning to improve a situation that is far far worse than the inconvenience to us in the vicinity of protests.
    It also seems that people judge the worthiness of a protest according to how much they agree with the point of the demonstration. Which shouldn't be the case. Demonstration about issues people feel strongly about is a civil right! (Here Athena's criticism of SPEAK protesters for Animal Rights is an example - you personally disagreed with their aim in addition to the protest itself, and described them as wierd..)
    From my perspective all the inconveniences to the police, the blocking up of public space, the intimidation to bystanders etc is a very small price to pay when these events are the only things in place to prevent Western society from slipping into their bubble of apathy. Such events are effective in that they unite citizens from different classes/nationalities/religions etc which is good for society as a whole. I could go on, but I have a feeling nobody agrees with me so its rather pointless.
    (Original post by Apagg)
    My friend was policing the pro-Pal protest in London, and according to him they had the specials at the front until the crowd starting getting ugly and throwing projectiles, at which point the riot police turned up. I've no doubt the majority are peaceful, but there always seems to be a hardcore group of "anarchists" who turn up just for a chance to attack the police
    It still would have been less aggravating if the BBC would have made sure that they conveyed the full picture in the article rather than only reporting one small aspect, which then becomes the thing the wider public remember about the entire event.

    As someone who put several hours of my day into the event, and froze my toes off - I felt indignant because it undermined the whole effort. And it gave me the feeling that there was nothing anyone could do to change public opinion and suspicion about public political action.
    (Original post by Athena)
    Your post came across as "anyone who finds any protest unpleasant is clearly brainwashed" :o:
    Well I believe that we are all brainwashed anyway. Doing my course, its really hard not to form that conclusion about the world! Like I said its not a specific criticism. And yeh when I type/speak in a hurry I often come across as aggressive/accusatory etc (apparently) so sorry.
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    Well, a lot of that's down to it being more interesting when there's riot compared to a peaceful protest I guess.
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    (Original post by Gesar)
    None at all would be more appropriate imo. It's a random protest, in an area where everyone obviously knows about what's going on, but can do nothing about it. Not even a TV camera to 'Get their message across'. I doubt anyone outside of a 2 mile radius of the city centre of Cambridge will ever know this happened.
    Again, the show of solidarity is as important as the message conveyed, or how many people it reaches.

    (Original post by Gesar)
    I'm not saying police resources will run out. I'm saying the four or five police officers they have to have there to make sure the protest doesn't turn into a riot could do much more help patrolling. I've been in trouble before and would have -loved- to have a police officer patrolling somewhere nearby. (In an area where they are usually patrolling). If I found out this was because some people wanted to have a little march rather than there not being enough police officers/funding to go round, then I'd be much more furious than I am about it.
    In a large city, such as Cambridge, it is very unusual to have 'police patrols'; policing is based on the targeted application of officers; most officers work under the rubric of "Beat Crime" units where they are assigned to specific tasks rather than patrol jobs. It would certainly not divert resources from serious crime, where officers are seconded permanently to those areas (i.e., Area Crime and Major Crime units).

    (Original post by Gesar)
    They're closing roads for them.
    Nevertheless, this doesn't seem excessive; a number of hours within road access does not seem 'unfair'.

    In addition, as Craghyrax has been saying, there are unfortunate cases where a minority of persons have spoiled an otherwise convivial and peaceful demonstration; I have attended demonstrations where one individual has acted stupidly -they did not represent the aims and motives of the other demonstrators. It has not been unheard of that police officers directly agitate a crowd (again, this has happened to me, where a CID officer attempted to "feed" us intelligence concerning the location of the BNP members, who we were protesting against, were located).
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    (Original post by Apagg)
    Well, a lot of that's down to it being more interesting when there's riot compared to a peaceful protest I guess.
    Media filtering is based on more than just market force. There are a few factors involved. ( I can look it up in my notes iyl.) - but yes the dictates of public media consumption is definitely also fairly sickening. (and no this isn't a harsh criticism: we're rubbish)
 
 
 

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