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If we accept or rationalise the treatment of Winston by this government for freely choosing to listen to the protesters – and not see it as the dangerous crawl away from democracy that it is ….then we too, even quiet observers, will have to live with the consequences. And they are not pretty. He is a citizen too remember, well known or not. Yes we have to accept our own risks when we make a stand and a famous person’s stand in addition risks getting called “grandstanding.” But when anyone is treated absurdly by those in office or those in media there can be no excuses… and we should not let it be or soften it into anything else.
Otherwise a system we never voted for will insidiously evolve. Winston’s appearance at least changed the media focus for a second away from just rubbishing and demonising the protestors – and it did make more people look and think, so good on him for that. Anyone who has protested for anything in their lives knows that the point is to stay as long as you can until the matter is shown to be heard at least with some dignity, if not resolved. Too many think it is somehow reasonable to complain that they did not merely ‘go home’ when told to. There is nothing shocking about them staying on. That story like almost all others in this situation has been manipulated and politicized.
How could they go home? The basics of what they were there for was continuously ignored.
It was not heard, on the contrary it was twisted. You don’t just turn around and leave when the one thing asked, to talk with the government, is denied. When it is a very very easy democratic response for them to have done so, and normally sane responsible leadership.
They waited peacefully for that. They had asked many times over weeks for one simple thing. They had preceded that with sending documentation of their questions. None were looked at and rather than do that the government forcibly and violently removed them without their minimal rights being attended to. Now trespass orders to those merely looking and walking on public parliamentary ground to try and get a deeper understanding of the protester’s needs without upfront judgement. It is bad enough they are hunting out anyone there to give them trespass orders. Democracy? Hell no.