On 3rd September 2016, thousands turned out to march against ‘Brexit’. I was away in Stockholm with my grandma, enjoying the rights of an EU citizen and the ease with which we were able to travel, and so I was, sadly, unable to attend the march. My parents on the other hand…
As expected, we were met with many harsh replies to our tweets (as most marchers were) on this day. I like to look at the positive, however – I gained at least 10 new followers, my tweet views were higher than ever and I had some good banter with a fellow ‘Remainer’ about a spelling mistake in one of my tweets. It was a good day.
This blog post is not about why I’m protesting against ‘Brexit’; it’s not about the benefits of the EU or why I think we are European – I’ve already blogged about that. This is quite simply about my right to protest.
You don’t have to agree with us. You don’t have to believe we’ll achieve anything – you just have to let us protest. EDL are a perfect example of a pressure group that routinely protests despite going against public views. We may stand against them and (quite rightly) accuse them of racist bigotry but we don’t tell them that they can’t protest. So why are those of us who are peacefully protesting against a minority vote, asking the government for explanations such as “why wasn’t there a threshold?“, told not to protest? Why are we being told that we need to ‘get over it’ and ‘accept the vote and move on’?
I saw that many people were comparing us to Nazis as we are ‘fighting democracy’ and ‘going against the will of the people’. If anything, those of you who are telling protesters that we are undemocratic are the ones who are undemocratic. Stopping people from protesting is exactly how a dictatorship starts – look at Hitler’s policies and what’s happening in Russia. It is my democratic right to protest, regardless whether people agree or not. Calling us undemocratic will not achieve anything, it will just make me more determined to protest.
This is a request to all those who have abused me on twitter for ‘going against democracy’, the ex-friend who told me ‘no, let’s not listen to democracy’ and all those ‘Leavers’ who tried to intimidate us on our anti-Brexit protest: You will not stop us; we have the right and the freedom to protest and we will use it. We will not just protest against ‘Brexit’, we have the right to protest against whatever we want. I will protest against the Badger Cull, I will protest against ‘Brexit’, I will protest against the proposed British Bill of Rights – it is my right, for which people have died, and are dying, across the world. When I am not allowed to protest, for whatever cause, then we are in a dictatorship; then I will agree that we are ‘going against democracy’.
Until that day comes, it is democratic for us to protest; it is how the government can visibly see the issues which concern us and it can force change. Women protesting gave us the vote. The LGBTQ+ community protesting lead to same-sex marriage. Protesting is direct democracy and a human right – do not take that away away from us.