Peaceful, civilised protests go a long way

Peaceful, civilised protests go a long way

By Arthur Chan, Li Po Chun United World College

Can I have a show of hands, instead of a show of fists?

The high-speed railway to Guangzhou has sparked debate among the Hong Kong public. Thousands of people took their stance to the streets. Among them, the youth-initiated "post-80s" group received the most attention. They achieved this through their rather radical behaviour. Their confrontation with the police helped them make headlines as the vanguards of democracy. But are they?

There is no universal suffrage in Hong Kong. It is said that the will of the people is never rightfully represented in the legislature nor the government. When the government turns a blind eye to public opinion, it's time for the people to step up and show their stance.

But this does not justify the radical nature of the protests. In Athens, Greece, citizens express their opinions on public issues by raising their hands in assemblies. It is a peaceful and civilised way for people to voice their views. Protests aim to do the same - let the public's opinion be heard.

Protests are like an unofficial show of hands. By taking it into the streets, people are effectively expressing their voices.

The strength of a protest should depend on the size of the crowd, not the loudness of their shouts. An effective protest should be one that succeeds in showing the majority's opinion, instead of one that's disorderly enough to attract media attention.

Gandhi succeeded in liberating the people of India by staging non-violent protests. Instead of breaking into the homes of officials, his people sat peacefully in the streets, showing their resolution and determination to fight for their cause.

It was not violence that Nelson Mandela used to abolish apartheid, nor was it hostility that Martin Luther King used to strive for equality.

Can I have a show of hands, instead of a show of fists?

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