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Lets Talk Change: Peaceful Protest Is NOT Working

Other | Monday 11th January 2016 | Omari

Peaceful protests are being met worldwide with increasingly militarised and  aggressive responses. We are running out of time. Climate change is creating more issues globally every year.

2016 will be the hottest year ever. It may be time to rethink our resistance strategy.

We have peaceful protest met with fierce resistance in Fergason, USA and we are seeing it now, much closer to home. 

(Police brutality vs protesters in Ferguson 2014, source: David Sim, International Business Times)

A chilling image taken from the Ferguson riots in 2014, shows a protester being arrested at gunpoint. The following image, taken during the Paris COP21 peaceful protest tells an all too similar story:

(Tite image: Police use tear gas on peaceful protesters at the Paris COP21 protest. source: @ReutersParisPix )

Gone are the days when we in the UK and Europe could look across the Atlantic and feel relieved that our police were more placid and easy going than the army that the US call a police force. These pictures suggest that there is a war on peace.

The climate change debate boiled over in 2015 as the leaders of 200 countries met to discuss the future of our planet at the Paris COP21 conference. Despite extensive debate from leaders around the world, The Paris Agreement left many feeling desperate and outraged due to its complete lack of decisive action. The main agreement was to cap clobal warming at 2 degrees Celcius in order to prevent more catastrophic devastation in the form of droughts and floods in years to come. 

Despite paying lip-service to change, many felt that the agreement did very little and took to the streets of Paris to peacefully protest and make themselves heard. Police responded to the protest with riot gear, smoke grenades and tear gas, used to disperse protesters. This video footage shows some of their efforts:

If this is how police are being ordered to respond to protesters with the interests of the planet and its people at heart, it poses a very serious question to us as citizens. Simply put peaceful protest is not working. People who attempt to speak up are being met not with police detention, but with military force. The path of peace alone may not bring justice.   

Through police brutality the state has declared war on the civilian and their rights. We must do something else if we wish to be heard and make real change. 

We must fight back! 

One thing we've learned from reading Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything is that Blockadia and direct action have worked in many cases such as the blockade against the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma and against Shell's drilling exploration in the Arctic Sea, both of which were massive projects that have been hindered by everyday people doing a little more to protect their planet.  

Omari Daniel

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