no one should feel threatened by a protest – Damian Light

TPPA Protesters blocked roads and entryways. Is this legal, and what we should expect of protesters?

I’ve always said that the right to protest is extremely important and I encourage people to use it. Not everyone is able to do it, in some parts of the world even considering it will get you killed or worse. It’s a proud tradition in NZ and something that I expect we’ll see more of as people get more engaged.

There is a difference between protesting and being a mob – no one should feel threatened by a protest. The idea is to raise awareness about an issue, show the volume of support for an action or belief. The Police are usually very good at providing escorts (if co-ordinated in advance) and ensuring everyone’s safety. The larger protests will cause disruption but generally it’s not for very long. Most protests I’ve seen or been involved in have been well behaved and conscious that they’re disrupting people’s lives. If you’re on a match, then its safe to assume that you believe that the issue needs more attention, so a little disruption is worth it.

The TPP has definitely caused some frustration – the lack of information, the speculation about the potential issues and the secret nature of the negotiations has fuelled frustration and a feeling of being ignored. While I’m not excusing any illegal behaviour, it’s not surprising considering the level of anger felt by some people.

– Damian Light, United Future