Water Cannons Turned On Peaceful TTIP Protestors In Brussels As Public Barred From Negotiations

from the first-signs-of-panic dept

The TAFTA/TTIP negotiations remain almost totally lacking in real transparency, with little information about what exactly is happening behind closed doors being released to the public -- and most of that coming from the EU side. This has naturally forced those excluded from the inner circle to speculate about what might be going on -- and, inevitably, to fear the worst. According to the US Ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner, and the EU Commissioner responsible for TTIP, Karel De Gucht, that's unacceptable:

The ambassador and commissioner agreed that NGOs and civil society organisations were spreading disinformation about TTIP through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. De Gucht said that a number of campaigners were "spreading rumours on false grounds."

Gardner added: "There's a void [in information]. The void is being filled more and more by social media."
That's interesting not just for the refusal to admit that it's lack of transparency that is creating this void, but also for the barely-concealed fear of social media, probably because it can't be controlled in the way that traditional media can. Gardner and De Gucht made their comments in Brussels, where they were both speaking at the European Business Summit, which describes itself as:
Europe's key meeting place for business leaders and decision makers, where Business and Politics Shape the Future.
Business, politics -- but not civil society, which, as usual, was not invited to shape the future. So, instead, it was forced to stay outside the meeting, on the streets. Here's what happened while business and politics were busy inside:
This Thursday morning over a thousand people were in the streets of Brussels, attempting to peacefully protest against austerity and the proposed great transatlantic market (TTIP) which were being discussed in the absence of citizens at the European Business Summit.

In an unprovoked move 281 people were violently arrested, including Belgian and European parliamentarians and candidates, senior trade union officials, farmers and many elderly citizens.
As one of those involved noted:
"We came into the streets because our political leaders are not listening. It seems they've only got ears for big business and their representatives who co-organised the European Business Summit. And to be treated so brutally, as if we were violent criminals -- when our actions were entirely peaceful."
Although that press release may not come from a totally objective source -- the D19-20 Alliance is an anti-austerity group -- reports and images on other sites confirm that the Belgian police were extremely heavy-handed, deploying water cannons and tying demonstrators' wrists together behind their backs for what seems to have been a polite and low-key peaceful protest. This extraordinarily disproportionate reaction would indicate an increasing nervousness on the part of the authorities that Europe is about to see a wave of mass demonstrations against TTIP just as happened with ACTA, leading to this brutal and ham-fisted attempt to nip it in the bud.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 6:32pm

    Oh...

    Even Belgian and various other European Parliamentarians and Candidates?

    Yeah, THAT'S not going to come back to haunt the TTIP in the slightest.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Unlawful assembly

    From the IBTimes article (linked above):
    The law in Belgium states that it is illegal to hold public protests without authorisation from the municipality.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 8:39pm

    ... reports and images on other sites confirm that the Belgian police were extremely heavy-handed, deploying water cannons and tying demonstrators' wrists together behind their backs for what seems to have been a polite and low-key peaceful protest.

    Umm, first- when you're ordered to disperse you should do it. If you don't you should expect, tear gas, mounted officers, billy clubs or dogs. I'd say getting wet was pretty humane and hardly "heavy-handed". Second, the "tying demonstrators' wrists together behind their backs" is also known and handcuffing. Obviously there were a large number of people to arrest so the cops used zip ties instead. There's nothing untoward about that.

    Perhaps if you attend an actual protest instead of reporting from a safe distance you'd have a better understanding.

     

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  4.  
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    Shufflepants, May 16th, 2014 @ 8:51pm

    Re:

    " I'd say getting wet was pretty humane and hardly "heavy-handed"."
    GETTING WET?! Do you even know what a water cannon is?! It's not a squirt gun...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayHKDgWfgfA

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 8:53pm

    Parliamentary immunity

    Members of parliament may be arrested or otherwise deprived of their freedom, or face restrictions thereof, only with the permission of the desk of their assembly.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:00pm

    Nature Abhores Vacuums

    "Gardner added: "There's a void [in information]. The void is being filled more and more by social media.""

    What did they expect? They created a vacuum, and it filled itself.

     

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  7.  
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    Greevar (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 9:05pm

    Re:

    That's an interesting argument, until you consider whether it was even right of them to disperse a peaceful protest.

    Don't confuse what's right with what the law says either. It might have been in accordance with the law, but that doesn't mean it was right. There are plenty of laws in existence that are unconscionable or even down-right evil, yet they still exist. Instead, it's a matter of whether the protestors had a legitimate grievance that was being ignored by traditional means. This is clearly such a case.

    Face it, when the voice of the people most affected by policy are being told to get lost, they need to become more visible and get louder. The police reaction to the protest was an effort at sending that voice back to the fringes where all citizens that can't buy a politician are expected to be.

     

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  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Boo hoo. Maybe you'd prefer tear gas? Seriously, you guys are such pantywaists.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:23pm

    This will come back to haunt the politicians supporting TPIP later. When the public is against something, what really gets their backs up is heavy handedness over peaceful means.

    You can make all the laws about protests and how they will be conducted you want. You can demand public assembly have prior consent, you can demand protests need insurance, you can demand protests need to pay for additional police protection but none of it means diddly when the public itself does not support nor respect these sorts of controls. Which is exactly what you see shown in this article.

    What responses the police make to this sort of protests will speak louder than any sort of bitching, moaning, complaining the officials do. That they have ignored public input or even public disclosure as required by much of the EU's laws says even more. That those bargaining officials are very much scared of the public being informed. If they are that worried then they should not be attempting to do just what they are doing. It is because of this lack of public input you will see more of this as the time gets closer for TTIP to be voted on.

    It's a repeat of SOPA being played out and it isn't going to come out pretty.

     

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  10.  
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    CK20XX (profile), May 16th, 2014 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Unlawful assembly

    Ah, so that law needs to be shredded and thrown out too. I didn't realize the public had a longer to-do list than that.

     

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  11.  
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    Pixelation, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:30pm

    Those protesters are all wet.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Unlawful assembly

    I wonder if the TPP picked this location, because of this law? Are there similar laws elsewhere in the EU?

    No motive attributed to the USTR is too dastardly.

    Bought, paid for, and executing those paid for instructions using all possible contretemps.

    And when that august personage cries their denial, we can comfortably descend into ROFLMOL.

     

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  13.  
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    Whatever, May 16th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re:

    You can't really use the moral argument of "what is right" here on Techdirt, because it's been long established that moral arguments aren't valid.

    The law here isn't evil. Rather, it's an attempt by the people (as a whole) to keep a small minority from ruining their lives by being able to protest and harm their enjoyment of life. Authorities did what they have to do to enforce the law and not give unfair advantage to one group or the other.

    Let's also make it clear. It's not a law that requires permission to have an opinion, rather it's one that makes sure that the protest is done in an orderly fashion and won't take away from the safety and well being of others. Had they applied for a permit, I suspect they would have received it, although they may not have been permitted to have their protest where they decided to hold it.

    The permit isn't a permit on the idea, just on the place and time so as to balance out the free speech rights of one side with the free and safe enjoyment of life, liberty, and so on. You don't live in a vacuum, protests do inflict punishment on people who have no interest by blocking streets or causes troubles.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 10:38pm

    Re:

    When you're ordered to disperse you should just do it. Really? If that was the case, no protest would've ever existed for more than 5 minutes.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So let me get this straight. You think that dispersing a PEACEFUL protest with water cannons is OK? Where do you live? China?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 10:41pm

    They're acting so stupid. Acting this way will only cause protests that are bigger than ACTA ever was.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So just following orders then?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:46pm

    when did this happen? i could not find ANY mention of this on any "news" website i skim daily (german and international sites)... they are too busy with reporting on how evil russia and erdogan is.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "...it's an attempt by the people (as a whole) to keep a small minority from ruining their lives by being able to protest and harm their enjoyment of life."

    Wow, what a leap of logic, even from you.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Rather, it's an attempt by the authorities (a small minority) to keep people (as a whole) from...

    FTFY.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Says the guy who's never been hit a water cannon.

    Coward.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2014 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Somewhere, a light bulb just turned on above someone's head.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 12:17am

    The New World Order? Hell, the old one doesn't work very well either.
    When our currencies are truly worthless the playing field will level out, and the future will be left to those of us willing to get our hands dirty. For the other 1% make sure you choose a window at least six stories up. May you live in interesting times.

     

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  24.  
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    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 12:22am

    Re: Re: Unlawful assembly

    The politics behind where the various European political centers are is long and complex, but Belgium is a typical choice. Some of it has to do with choosing little countries that aren't seen as being able to leverage their position as host to gain an unnatural advantage. Some of it is undoubtedly to do with many of these smaller countries making a great deal of their money off of tourism and thus being quite pleasant places to book a luxury hotel. I wouldn't be surprised if the protest law is as much about maintaining a pleasant façade for vacationers as anything else.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 12:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Troll panders to the authority he sucks the cock of, what a surprise.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Some people might read your comment and write you off as a mindless authoritarian who lacks empathy and real-world experience...

    I, however, prefer to imagine that you're actually Badass #1 from this list.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 2:51am

    Re:

    Umm, first- when you're ordered to disperse you should do it.

    Why, exactly?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 3:21am

    Re: Unlawful assembly

    and why do you think that is then? you dont think it may be so that laws that take the piss out of the people can be pushed into being without the people knowing and being able to do anything about it? like all bad laws, this is being done in secret, just to be of benefit to the businesses and industries that want it!

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 3:23am

    I can't get over how stupid these tyrants are. They utterly depend on the public not noticing their actions, and yet they just can't seem to stop calling attention to themselves.

    Here's my prediction: those elderly citizens get visited in the hospital by their grandchildren, and then the next protest ends up a lot bigger and a whole lot less peaceful.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 3:23am

    Re:

    what sort of fucking prick are you? you are condoning this treatment! hopefully, you will be on the end of something very like this in the near future, then see how you like it!!

     

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  31.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, I think you're misreading the pronoun antecedents; I think the "their" in the part you highlighted is referring to "the people as a whole", not to the "small minority".

     

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  32.  
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    Whatever, May 17th, 2014 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The emphasis on peaceful shows that you miss the point. Peaceful protest, wild protest, loud protest, quiet protest... they are all the same in the eyes of the law of the land which says "you may not protest without a permit". At the point that a protest (peaceful or otherwise) without a permit does not disperse, then more forceful means are a good way to deal with things. It's certainly many times more desirable than arresting everyone and having them end up with a rap sheet, right?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    At least they admit it's politics, and not the public interest, that's responsible for the law. Politics as in corporate campaign contributions, revolving door favors, and back door dealings.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Rather, it's an attempt by the people (as a whole) to keep a small minority from ruining their lives by being able to protest and harm their enjoyment of life."

    If that's the case why are these negotiations being done in secret from the majority with only industry interests invited to them? If these negotiations are so agreeable to the majority then why are governments so afraid of allowing the majority to see them?

    Heck, how can the majority even reasonably decide if they agree to these agreements when they can't even see them?

     

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  35.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You *DO* realize that those things can break bones with ease, right?

     

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  36.  
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    JMT (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Can you clarify which dictatorship you live in for us?

     

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  37.  
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    JMT (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    "Perhaps if you attend an actual protest instead of reporting from a safe distance you'd have a better understanding."

    Clearly you're the one who needs this education more than anyone else here.

     

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  38.  
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    Whatever, May 17th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You do realize that if you are taking part in an illegal protest, and you fail to leave when ordered by the police, that you sort of are taking a risk?

    Plenty of things can break bones. Should we restrict them from use because there is a chance of harm? Should the police be allowed only to use feathers to tickle people away from an illegal protest?

    It's not like the police just randomly show up and start spraying. It's also significantly better than tear gas or beanbag guns, right?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    China? No... He lives in North Korea.

     

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  40.  
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    avideogameplayer, May 17th, 2014 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ask anyone in Occupy movement about protests...

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    I find it interesting which protests are targeted for "dispersement". Apparently, only protests that moneyed interests do not like get dispersement orders. Collateral damage is ignored or swept under the rug, it's surprising that these events get any media coverage at all.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That and hiding behind "the law".

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Unlawful assembly

    Oh, so if someone breaks one law, no matter how minor, it's perfectly fine to break ANY law in dealing with them?

    Well than, the next time someone trespasses on my property by walking on my grass instead of the sidewalk, I'll go shoot them 5 times, and steal all their belongings. It'll be perfectly legal under your logic, because I was dealing with a law breaker who wasn't supposed to be there!

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Joy to the World

    Some days those brutal politicians and business beasts won't reign on earth. To that I smile inside.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Calling it an illegal protest doesn't justify anything. They are peacefully protesting an illegally organized and evil act. Give us your address and we will show you how justified people can be.

     

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  46.  
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    Greevar (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What is right is not a moral argument, but it's what will benefit everyone regardless of their political or economic standing. Any policy that impacts the public should be held under the scrutiny of the public. Denying them that is asking for a protest and discouraging the protest is benefiting the minority at the expense of the whole.

    Or, would you rather let the wolves have a secret vote on whether to eat you without having any say in it?

     

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  47.  
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    Greevar (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why should anyone need a permit to protest? What criteria determines whether a permit is granted? If a wealthy political power is in town, will all permit requests be denied in order to suppress dissent against it? The only tool at the disposal of the people, faced with a corrupt authority, is civil disobedience. Nothing should be allowed to hinder nor prohibit that. It is the one right that no authority can take away.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Unlawful assembly

    If you live in FLA

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    How can the majority agree to something that only a small minority is being allowed to know about.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, I've been tear gassed before. And arrested. I can't say either was fun, but both go with the territory. The big difference is that I accept that. You candy asses think its a big deal.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Black people were shot with water during their protests. Are you saying it was wrong for them to protest too? Are you pro-slaves?

     

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  52.  
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    CK20XX (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It IS a big deal. Accepting it doesn't mean pretending to be a jock just because you've suffered more than most. If you've become that numb to it, you're only a step away from becoming like the enforcers who abused you in the first place. Do you really want that cycle of evil to be perpetuated?

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that I knew what I was in for and reaped the consequences. Understanding the risks and sniveling about it when it happens seems like a bitch move to me, but also seems like how you pussies roll.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You should pay attention. It's not wrong to protest, but it is to cry about what happens as a result of your protests. When you see water cannons being deployed, it's a safe bet that they are going to be used on you if you hang around. If you chose to hang around, then I'm not going to feel sorry for you getting sprayed or gassed.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 11:35am

    Re:

    Authoritarians of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains (you know, the ones you put on other people).

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It's certainly many times more desirable than arresting everyone and having them end up with a rap sheet, right?"

    No, not right. BTW, water cannons are full on as violent as billy clubs. The can seriously injure and kill people.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    This is all very much SOP when dealing with anti-free trade protestors. This shit goes back to at least the Battle in Seattle in 1999.

     

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  58.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I think we all understand your point of view. You're an authoritarian. Fair enough. Personally, I think a proportional response would have been far better.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd argue that images of Bull Connor's attack dogs and fire hoses did more to advance the cause of civil rights than slow it down.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No you don't get it either. The point is that you shouldn't whine if you knew the consequences of your actions and did it anyway. Proportionality has nothing to do with it. There are countries that enforce the death penalty for heroin trafficking. But if you traffic in heroin in those countries and get caught I don't want to hear you crying about it. You knew what could happen and chose to do it anyway. That's all on you.

     

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  61.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    'Lawful' protesting...

    So it's illegal to protest without authorization.

    Well okay, who do you go to do get that authorization? That would be the people who you are trying to protest against, or the people who's bosses you're protesting against, or the people connected to the groups that have the ability to throw massive amounts of money around in 'donations' and 'business opportunities'...

    Oh yeah, I can't see a conflict of interest coming into play there at all. /s

     

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  62.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    Well with the difference that these protests aren't 'anti-free trade', but more 'anti-complete secrecy of 'trade' talks that involve a freakin' lot more issues than just trade'.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "countries that enforce the death penalty for heroin trafficking"

    Wow - I did not know this about Belgium.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Not Applicable, May 17th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Verbal diarrhoea is your failing sweetiepie

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Were you protesting abuse of power?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah - they think it makes their proposed treaties more palatable to the general public if they call it something like "Helping Grannies Cross the Street", I mean how could you be against that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the government passes bad laws and people break them that doesn't make the punishment anymore acceptable. And if you don't want to hear people criticizing those governments and their laws and consequences you can find another blog or start your own blog where no one will pay attention to you or you can live under a rock or live as a peasant in one of those authoritarian countries since your refusal to criticize them maybe a good thing there. But don't come here and expect anyone to care what you think we shouldn't complain about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think the point in highlighting the violence that protesters are willing to take is to show how much those protesters care about what they are doing and to show that they aren't doing it for self serving purposes. Unlike those in power who are unwilling to accept violence against them to continue doing what the protesters are protesting against.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Knowing the consequences to one's actions doesn't make those consequences any more just. If someone knows that the consequences to standing up and talking back to an abusive person is to get hit and they do it anyways does that make the person standing up to this abusive person at fault? No, the abusive person is at fault. They are the villain and the person being hit is the victim.

    If the penalty of a slave escaping is for them to get lashed if caught and they escape and get caught and get lashed who is at fault? The person doing the lashing. They are the villains and 'it's all on them'.

    If the penalty for protesting a violent dictator is to get shot on sight who is the villain? The dictator. It's all on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Unlawful assembly

    "Uber vs London Taxis - Protest via Gridlock

    London's black cabs have promised to bring "chaos, congestion and confusion" to London as a protest against the growing presence of smartphone taxi service Uber. They are planning for 10,000 drivers to meet at a London landmark (which hasn't been named yet) in early June.

    Steve McNamara, LTDA's [Licensed Taxi Drivers Association] general secretary, told the BBC: "I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL's [Transport for London's] handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis."

    This amid lawsuits in some places and drivers being fined in others."

    http://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/05/09/1514203
    (to clarify, that article has a link to Uber drivers being fined, so it's Uber drivers that are being fined for competing against incumbent taxi-cab businesses).

    It's amazing how those that want more monopoly power over everything and get their way through backdoor dealings are quick to proclaim the virtues of everyone else following the laws (the laws that they pretty much wrote) yet they have no problems (at least threatening to) break much worse laws when they don't get their way and yet they also don't even seem to get the same treatment from law enforcement personnel as legitimate protesters. Instead the police takes their side by fining those they are protesting against (their competitors for daring to compete in a market place that bought politicians for monopoly power over). I guess those that buy politicians are treated differently when they protest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Unlawful assembly

    that they bought politicians for monopoly power over *

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and those that receive extreme consequences for doing nothing wrong have every right to complain about it and they absolutely should. Complaining is at least better than just allowing those unjust consequences to continue unabated. Injustice should be criticized and we should criticize and complain about it. It's the least we can do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re: Unlawful assembly

    Little Timmy dropped a gum wrapper on the ground, so he was clubbed him to death to send a message that littering will not be tolerated. There are far fewer gum wrappers on the ground now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 8:52pm

    Re: 'Lawful' protesting...

    "Well okay, who do you go to do get that authorization? That would be the people who you are trying to protest against, or the people who's bosses you're protesting against, ..."

    Yeah, ain't it beautiful?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 8:59pm

    Re:

    "Umm, first- when you're ordered to disperse you should do it. If you don't you should expect, tear gas, mounted officers, billy clubs or dogs. I'd say getting wet was pretty humane and hardly "heavy-handed""

    Agreed! In fact, they shouldn't have even been gathered without permission in the first place! They're lucky the police didn't just fire into the illegal crowd! If you break the law, you deserve whatever you get!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 9:04pm

    Re:

    'I'd say getting wet was pretty humane and hardly "heavy-handed".'

    Kinda like your kind (typical TTIP supporters) see water-boarding as just "getting wet" and "pretty humane" too, huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, another good example would have been Rosa Parks. They shoulda hauled her off that bus and beat the crap out of her to teach her some respect for the law. If she cried, someone shoulda told her to just shut up, too! And no one shoulda felt sorry for her, either.

    How's that? Can I join your TTIP supporter's club now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You can't really use the moral argument of "what is right" here on Techdirt, because it's been long established that moral arguments aren't valid."

    Speak for yourself. Others may have valid moral arguments, even if you obviously don't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    … shoulda hauled her off that bus and beat the crap out of her…

    At the risk of a total derail, well, there are some things should not ever be forgotten.     Wikipedia: Freedom Riders.

    Now you can go back to letting the troll get your goat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Robert, May 18th, 2014 @ 12:46am

    The current bunch of trade treaties have nothing at all to do with trade and everything to do with a blatant grab for power by multi-national corporations.
    Politicians signing onto them are traitors to their countries and their democracies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    maxblunt, May 18th, 2014 @ 1:37am

    Re:

    Oh, so everything is alright, nothing to fear or be concerned about at all.
    Thank you for putting our minds at rest...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 4:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, there's always outright Revolt as a backup option...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No one said that moral arguments aren't valid just that IP extremists don't have valid moral arguments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Whatever, May 18th, 2014 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yup, a group of people protesting a free trade meeting ranks right up there with racism.

    Self important much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 9:48am

    It seems politicians and businesses have no respect for commoners.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    … right up there with racism.

    Abolition of the economic system of chattel slavery did not ever end the struggle against injustice, poverty and ignorance.



    For we know now, that it isn't enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't have enough money to buy a hamburger?

               ——Memphis, Tennessee, March 18, 1968

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 18th, 2014 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They're not protesting 'free trade', of which the various 'agreements' have very little, they're protesting the government making 'trade' agreements that will have far reaching consequences, affecting massive numbers of people, completely in secret, hiding the details from the very people who will be most effected, and who the government is supposed to represent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    MyDisqussion (profile), May 18th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    Washing Away the Riff Raff

    Trust us! We're not going to do anything to hurt you. You will now get a Copyright to last essentially forever for any work you produce (Take that, England, and your copyright laws.)

    We don't want your brains to explode with everything that is in this bill, but it's good for you.

    Trust us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 18th, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unlawful assembly

    it is now not tin-foil beanie territory to wonder if it might have reasons to do with 'we' (unka sam) own the belgians (or other small countries) intel svcs, and/or, we can have our way with their telecom system, and/or we can physically bug every room of every likely hotel, etc...
    i wonder...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No one is protesting free trade. What's being protested is the corporate takeover of our legislative process. See the difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 3:52pm

    There is a broken URL in the OP.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:


    "It's ... wrong ... to cry..."

    "... you shouldn't whine ..."

    "...I don't want to hear you crying about it."


    You sure do complain a lot for someone who doesn't like people "whining".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 3:58pm

    But... Europe is liberal! We're not exactly like the countries they criticize, I tell 'ya! We're nothing like the United States!! We're noooooooot!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    AC, May 18th, 2014 @ 11:00pm

    Where were they sent?

    Presumably they were sent to the Ministry of Love?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    me@me.net, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:56am

    You can only push the people so far

    Before the revolution comes.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:22am

    Re: You can only push the people so far

    Hahahahhaha.... Right, the Call of Duty warriors and LARPers will rise up in rebellion. That's a laugh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Galos Gann, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:06am

    Re: Reflexive submission to authority

    Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Almost Anonymous, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: 'Lawful' protesting...

    People: Yeah, hi, we'd like to get permission to organize a peaceful protest.

    Government: Ok, and what will you be protesting?

    People: Um, well, you.

    Government: Permission denied.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do understand what you're saying. I simply disagree with you (not to mention your characterization of it being "whining".) If everyone followed your idea of proper behavior then little political improvement of reform would ever happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Civil protests "ruin people's lives"? Really??

    "Authorities did what they have to do to enforce the law and not give unfair advantage to one group or the other."

    I disagree. Authorities did what they had to do to enforce a bad law and to ensure the unfair advantage enjoyed by one group remains that way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    icon
    PopeyeLePoteaux (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You can't really use the moral argument of "what is right" here on Techdirt, because it's been long established that moral arguments aren't valid.You can't really use the moral argument of "what is right" here on Techdirt, because it's been long established that moral arguments aren't valid."

    Just to clarify, I and many others object the moral argument regarding copyright issues because copyright has never been about morality but practical utility, is just a red herring meant to create moral panic and bringing the whole issue to a purely emotional level where someone can claim the moral high ground and make detractors look as the inmoral ones.

    "The law here isn't evil. Rather, it's an attempt by the people (as a whole) to keep a small minority from ruining their lives by being able to protest and harm their enjoyment of life. Authorities did what they have to do to enforce the law and not give unfair advantage to one group or the other."

    Lawful =/= ethically acceptable, and since we are not talking about copyright but currupt athorities who use the "free trade agreement" label to rig the game in favor of a minority made up of corporate players interested only in filling their pockets while ignoring the adverse consequences for the rest of the people, so it follows that using physical force to disband a peaceful protest with demonstrably harming techniques is questionable at minimum, since they are just excercizing their right to protest against a corrupt system, unless I live in a dictatorship, I can't see your point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Prototype v0.69, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is a very good reason why many of the options available to law enforcement are labeled "less lethal" rather than "non-lethal" as you've just demonstrated. In fact, I'm not sure there are any options labeled as non-lethal at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:43pm

    Well, at least the water was transparent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well civil protests ruining peoples lives actually does make sense. That is if you mean the protesters suffering from heavy-handed crackdowns.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    goarilla, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re:

    C'mon it's not that they were slapped in the face, clubbed in the throat or made to kiss the wall. That's my definition of heavy-handed. Every mob has hotheads who "protest" to wreak havoc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    identicon
    goarilla, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Never heard of looting protesters ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 20th, 2014 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let me know how that works out for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 20th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's the idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 20th, 2014 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    These guys weren't looting. That's what "peaceful" means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 20th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re:

    The problem is, it's called "Free Trade." Think in terms of Orwell's "Ministry of Love."

    FTAs have always been about corporations crushing the little guy. Remember NAFTA? Remember the prosperity that followed? No? Neither do I.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 20th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: You can only push the people so far

    They'll be pretending. God help anyone who actually tries it. The best hope they have is to vote Pirate in the EU elections.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    icon
    richard40 (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    I normally detest these kind of protestors, but in this case they might be right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    identicon
    Bill Lawrence, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:29am

    Son of SOPA / TTIP

    Belgium has become a sanctuary (read: snake pit) for International Corporate Power Players precisely because of its brutal police barricade against public assembly and peaceful protest by outraged citizens.

    WE NEED AN INTERNATIONAL TOURIST BOYCOTT AGAINST BELGIUM'S WALLED CITADEL UNTIL IT OPENS THE GATE TO CIVIL DISCOURSE. THE CITY OF BRUSSELS HAS BECOME A PRIVATE FIEFDOM WHERE MONEYED INTERESTS / PRIVILEGED ELITES & BIG TIME RACKETEERS CAN SAFELY HIDE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: You can only push the people so far

    Ahh, yes. The mass generalizations of the common internet troll. As if you actually know anything about anyone in these comments. I'd suggest that you would, in fact, be in for a very nasty surprise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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