What are protest marches?
A protest march is a type of protest or demonstration that generally involves a group of people walking from an assembly point to a predetermined destination, usually culminating in a political rally, and often evoking a military march or parade.
What are they for?
This weekend has seen a number of marches and demonstrations protesting at the visit of Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America. Other marches that have happened in Britain have been about Austerity, Brexit and other political topics. The marches seem to think that taking to the streets will show that ‘the will of the people’ is different to what is being delivered by the government of the day.
Are they effective?
I don’t think Donald Trump will change how he is because reportedly 250,000 took to the streets to have their say on what they think of him.
The government believe that austerity has been the way to manage the country’s books since the economic crisis and they haven’t budged on this approach.
Brexit is still going ahead despite protesters wanting it stopped.
Over 1,000,000 protested on the streets of London about the Iraq war.
What do they achieve?
In an ideal world, you would hope that the leaders of a country or a community would pay attention to what their constituents or members wanted. They would put their case across as to why they are doing what they are doing, and make a case civilly for their actions. There should be a way of challenging or questioning this. Sometimes the sight of hundreds of thousands of people protesting does make leaders question their approach and look to hear rational and reasonable arguments. This unfortunately does not happen very often though.
There were recently protest marches in London by NHS staff with the aim of getting more money spent on the NHS, including wanting a decent pay rise for the staff too. This was an emotive subject as most people don’t question the value of the people working in the NHS, and while it is a very good cause, so are the firemen and women, and police too. If you give to one, do you give tot the others too? It is a tricky situation which is why we elect leaders to make those decisions for us. The general public don’t have to balance books with their arguments for this cause or that cause. They have their right to be heard. The message is important though, and it is a difficult task for leaders to decide what action and if/when to act.
The British people aren’t very forthcoming a lot of the time to say they feel so strongly about one subject or another. Protest marches don’t happen that often really.
I have never been on one, but have been in the location when some protest marches have occurred. There was a group marching because they had the right to hold an organised march. The opposing group were protesting that the other group that they didn’t like shouldn’t be allowed to march. It seems that sometimes people protest for protest’s sake. Sometimes if you ignore something it has a bolder impact than if you shout and bawl at them in opposition. Maybe that is my personality? Maybe it is my ‘Britishness’ however that is defined?
How do you make your feelings known that you don’t approve of something? Do you have to say something all the time? Are we entering an age where more people feel like they have to say something? They have to be seen to be doing something? Is it just apathy on my part that doesn’t get me motivated to act on these kind of things? Or is it that I don’t see that it would do any difference in the long scheme of things? It may be a mixture of these. I think that if you know something important to you had a chance to have the decision changed, you would do something. I guess my question is for those protesters who are protesting about something they know deep down won’t change.
Donald Trump will head back to the USA and will carry on as he wants. The government will continue running the economy how they want. Brexit is still going ahead in one form or another. The Iraq war still went ahead.
The bigger question
How do we get leaders to consider different viewpoints if protest marches aren’t effective?