It is always possible to protest peacefully

Updated: Jun 02, 2020, 07:37 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Transport this scenario to the country or the city, and you see how violence actually does nothing for the cause one aims to highlight. It actually derails the reason for the protest and puts the spotlight on the disruption.

Smoke rises near a demonstrator facing a row of police during a protest to call for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis, the US. Pic/AFP
Smoke rises near a demonstrator facing a row of police during a protest to call for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis, the US. Pic/AFP

The scale of riots over the death of George Floyd in the USA have shocked the world. While earlier, there was merit in the protesters' claims about racism and message that black lives matter, now, the riots seemed to have segued into something else altogether.

Currently, it is about mindless violence, and an opportunity to vandalise public property and loot stores. Somewhere within the mayhem and madness, George Floyd and the black cause, the reminder that we still need to fight racism and discrimination in an unequal world, seem to have been lost altogether. Another factor, of course, is that this is coming in the backdrop of the COVID-19 threat and there is no social distancing or masks when these rioters congregate.

Transport this scenario to the country or the city, and you see how violence actually does nothing for the cause one aims to highlight. It actually derails the reason for the protest and puts the spotlight on the disruption. As the migrant problem festers in Mumbai, uncertainty and gloom make this a tinderbox. Officials, authorities, law enforcers and the public are on a short fuse.

We have seen potential problems when migrants are taking trains, but this was quelled by the police swiftly. Let us learn lessons that to make points or tell the world something, we must use peaceful methods, rather than run riot. The latter also results in public losing sympathy for you and at times your cause. Lives are in disarray because of all the problems brought on by the wrong methods to capture eyeballs.

It may be ironical but there is great power in restraint and at times, relative silence speaks louder than words. As we stand poised on the brink of life-changing events and are threatened by the circumstances, we must understand the power of lawful protest.

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