The ends served by mass protests PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:47



People are generally ambivalent towards mass protest actions. Some lead to a lot of good and an excellent example of this is our very own People Power I  which eventually lead to the dictator Marcos and his family hightailing it to Hawaii. Mass protest actions which have since been referred to as  the Arab  Spring initiated regime changes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt but also unleashed new disturbances and these countries are now still in turmoil.

The latest version of mass protests  in the world that has come up in the international scene is what has been happening in Hong Kong.

In its simplest sense a mass protest action takes place to call the attention of a greater part of the public to the cause espoused by a particular group. In Hong Kong the issue was how  much say Beijing would have on who can stand for election as Hong Kong’s chief executive.  This matter was part of the agreement when Britain ceded control of Hong Kong to China in 1997 but China chose to modify what had already been a signed agreement.  Hong Kong residents, used to a different political climate under the British, would not allow the modification, and thus the mass protests.

Mass protests actions can bring in the media professionals and the usual- often hyped- media slant and this coverage is a double-edged sword.  The world gets to know what the protesters are fighting for and this is good. But, at the same time, the rhythm of life in the areas where the protesters are massed  is also affected. Hong Kong has a very brisk tourism industry and tourism and all the allied businesses will be negatively affected by the protest action. (Think Bangkok some months ago too. ) So this situation creates a dilemma. Even if your sympathies lie with the protesters you have to consider your negatively affected business. Which will you give priority to?

In Manila we have the makings of another issue which might balloon into  mass protests. Jeffery(Jennifer) Laude – a transgender individual- was said to have been killed by an American soldier  who is in the Philippines as part of  some military exercises taking place under the VFA between the Philippines and the US. Any one person’s death is to be lamented, whether the person is gay or straight. Justice must be pursued and the killer made to account for his crime. But the prosecution of the case is not a matter of the VFA but a matter of one person taking the life of another. However  there will be those who will create an issue of the homicide case and make of it  a cause celebre  that will warrant mass protests to suit their own agenda.

Laude has been killed, that is bad enough. Let us simply make sure that the homicide case is prosecuted justly and efficiently.