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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Double standards, once again.

While going through my morning news and blogs, I've noted something.  A few blogs have been writing about the protesters arrested at Carleton University.  These were peaceful protesters, who were also tuition paying students at the university.  There was no aggressiveness, belligerence or... well, see for yourself.

There are a couple of things that stand out when I watch this.  Number one is how incredibly polite everyone is being.  The students stood their ground, verbally defending their right to free speech and their rights, as students of the university, to have a public protest.  Even while being arrested, the students were polite, with no resistance of any kind.  No shouting, rudeness, mockery, violence... nothing.  A bunch of students, wanting to exercise their free speech rights, were arrested for it, and it was all amazingly calm.

The other thing I noticed was how little was written about this in the news.  It was just another story that quickly went away.  Where were all the stories about how free speech is being squashed?  Where are the loud admonitions of police unjustly arresting peaceful protesters?  Where are the loud admonitions from bloggers and free speech advocates?  Where is the hue and cry to release these protesters immediately and have all charges dropped?  Where are the folks so eager to attack the powers that be (whether it's the university, the police, Conservatives and Stephen Harper) for allowing this authoritarian rights abuse?

Oh, wait.  These are pro-life demonstrators.  Never mind.

Don't think there's a double standard?  Well, how about this for comparison.

You'll note, for starters, that no one is arrested in this video.  The protesters are loud and in-your-face.  There's the two guys being obnoxious and behaving rather offensively; especially the one pretending to cup the genitals of one of the police officers.  (Yeah, there's a girl there, too, but she clearly doesn't know how to do a lap dance.) The protesters are shouting a mocking chant.  Their attitude towards the police is mocking in general, and while, judging from the looks on their faces, they seem to think it's all fun and games and a big joke, the behaviour is actually quite aggressive and threatening.

So on the one hand, we've got a bunch of obnoxious "peace" protesters behaving like idiots, then everyone is surprised when the police end up arresting the whole lot of them.  A small segment of people is struggling mightily to keep this 'atrocity' - as they see it - in every one's minds.  Every chance they get, they're bring up the G20 arrests, along with speeches about how our government is so evil.

Then we have a small group of protesters who actually behave peacefully, as well as respectfully.  They get arrested, again peacefully.  Yet the same people who are bursting blood vessels in anger over the G20 protesters being arrested are completely silent over this abuse of rights on behalf of a university. On the contrary, when this sort of thing happens (and it has happened before) if there is any comment, it's to condemn the protesters.  

As is so often the case, it's all about freedom for them and their points of view, but not for those who hold opposing points of view.

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