When in Doubt, Get Violent.

At least that seems to be the idea spreading across the globe.

The world will always commend those who peacefully speak out for the people who cannot. A most recent example is Nobel Peace Price Winner, Malala Yousafzai.  Unfortunately, even peaceful Malala, who at 17 is the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, experienced violent retaliation.  So much so, her life was nearly taken from her by the Taliban.

But, while advocates of rights and protestors in general may start out with the best intentions, too often brutality breaks through.  This is the case numerous cities across the globe. What the media indicates to be the most pressing of the moment is the police’s sudden retaliation to protestors opposing the Chinese government’s involvement in Hong Kong’s upcoming elections.  Footage of this retaliation emerged today, showing a police officer violently attempting to restrain a protestor. Despite indications of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s wishes to engages in talks with the demonstrators, this footage follows reports of previous usage of pepper spray and dangerous bouts to block the crowds.  Even with speculation of such talks, the Hong Kong chief shows no wishes to negotiate.

When protesting takes a turn for the worst, as it almost inevitably does in most situations, the media takes it upon themselves to report that moment.  While the public does have a right to be informed before, during and after these instances, the public also has a right to feel safe in standing up for their rights.  The issue here is how can governments, police officials, other influential bodies and the acting protestors work together to maintain the peaceful nature that seems to be lost over time? Some may say the answer is don’t protest in the first place, but that does not seem to be a realistic solution.  Then it must be asked, does any realistic solution even exist?

Sources: ABC, The Guardian, BBC

3 comments

  1. I strongly believe that there needs to be a political and legal solution to hold those responsible for such crimes. Governments must take action in finding and bringing to court those liable for such attrocities. No one has civilly or criminally paid for the injuries sustained by Ms. Malala Yousafzai. Sadly, I am not certain that anyone ever will. In comparison to the situation in Hong Kong, this is not the first time that protestors face violent repercussions for voicing their opinions in China. The incident in Tiananmen Square killed hundreds of civilians and journalists. To this day, about 25 years later, Chinese authorities hold a strict censorship regarding the tragic event at Tiananmen Square. The lives and influence of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are the only hope I have when it comes to this particular situation.

  2. I personally do not believe that a realistic solution exists to this problem. I think that whether the government and police retaliate violently depends on where the protests occur, and under what circumstances they are occurring. I am not surprised at all to hear that Hong Kong police are starting to use force against protesters. China is known for its questionable violations against human rights during protests. At the same time, China has a very disciplinary government and they intend on showing their strength and power anytime someone is questioning their regime.

    China is not the only country with this problem. We have seen the police turn violent against protesters right here in America. In Ferguson, Missouri, we have seen improper handling of protests by the police. In my opinion, the militarization of police in the U.S. often incites violent reactions from both sides.

    I think that this is a very tricky issue because although it would be ideal for all protests to be peaceful, human nature often makes people very irrational when put in these situations. When you have potentially heated and passionate protesters on one side, and nervous, threatened, or improperly trained police on the other side, there is a high likelihood of trouble to come.

  3. It is sad to say it but it is the truth that protests usually always break out in brutality. It seems like there is not a solution to this problem. But maybe the government should try to work with police officers and protestors to try and come up with a peaceful solution. I think this will be very hard to do but I do not think the solution should be not to protest at all. It does not seem like a realistic solution actually does exists. However, people should not stop protesting and standing up for their rights. Protesting is very important because it allows people to stand up for what they believe in. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that nonviolent protest is the most effective weapon against a racist and unjust society. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed history by protesting and standing up for what he believed was right. People should not stop protesting but instead try to think of the most nonviolent way to get their messages across.

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