Some people may argue that this Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest is the exercise of the right to peaceful protest and the police should leave them to get on with it. But to take that view they must believe that anyone can protest for any reason at any time and in any place including blocking any road. I suspect they don’t think that really. Certainly I take a very different view. According to reports in the Bristol Post the protest has caused severe delays on the M32 and throughout Bristol city centre, to the extent that motorists were advised to avoid the area. It’s caused disruption for the University of West England graduation forcing attendees to find other routes into the city, but that isn’t the worst. Although the protest group said it let a car through its blockade which contained a woman in labour one has to ask how long the poor woman was held up in a protest caused traffic jam before she finally made it to the point they became aware and let her through, and what other damage was caused to those seeking their normal route to medical care.
So I challenge those who call it ‘peaceful protest’ and think the police should merely keep watch. Peaceful protest doesn’t harm or interfere with other people. Being well meaning is not enough, you have to let people go about their business and not interfere with their rights.
Peaceful protesters must be prepared for the possibility that others, in exercising their own rights, might choose to ignore them. But Marxists were never fans of free choice, in case others don’t choose Marxism. This watermelon variety is no different.
These protesters claim to be challenging the government, yet it’s ordinary people who are suffering the consequences of their actions. Meanwhile the police “control traffic”. This soft touch approach is not acceptable, and shows the police to be acting politically in allowing these cut-price Lenins and teenage Trotskys to roam free over other people’s rights. It suggests to me the usual support for left wing activism we increasingly see from the establishment. A support the protesters on the street seem unaware of – they sincerely think they are fighting the establishment I am sure, yet the police look on and do nothing. They are really an unwitting ally of the establishment in fastening green-Marxism on all of us. They are protected. If not, how long do you think they would be tolerated?