Monday, July 11, 2005

I Don't Think They Understand Nonviolent Protest

I found this in Ha'Aretz:

The National Home (Bayit Leumi) movement, responsible for recent road obstructions, announced Sunday evening a new mission, "Displacing the displacement camp," calling for demonstrators and their supporters to come to the Gama camp, an army base outside the Gaza Strip where forces that will take part in the disengagement will reside.

The organization's announcement calls for the crowds expected to march within a week to Gush Katif to reach the Gama camp, where "each one of them will take the rod of one tent and move it a few hundred meters from the camp."

The announcement also states that this action will terminate the "organizational ability of the expulsion forces for a long period."

"This kind of action has many advantages. First of all, it is in line with all of the criteria of nonviolent civil disobedience. It will not be violent, and it is directed precisely at the regime representatives designated to execute the crime," the declaration said.

I think I have a little experience in nonviolent protests.

One can block, one can sit-down, one can take over an office and prevent normal work from proceeding, one can offer an alternative service, but one cannot "grab a tent pole and move it".

What I have tried to suggest to anyone listening is a bit of pre-march planning so that on the march, if the marchers are blocked, they should regroup, organize themselves into rows of, say, 100, put 50 meters between themselves, and them rebegin marching.

The rationale?

There are just so many soldiers and policemen and it actually is easier to control a large crowd. Once the group breaks up, more security forces are needed to control. If stopped, the row veers off - one to the right, one to the left, one straight ahead.

If stopped, the group sits down - it does not forcefully push ahead. If this happens, within an hour, there will be rows and rows of hundreds of marchers all over an area of several square dunams and eventually, there will not be enough security personnel to control and then some are going to be able to continue walking.

Basically, chaos will break out. This is in a wide-open area remember, not your downtown street. Of course, though, eventually, there is the entrance into Gush Katif, and that's where it should all come to a halt, one way or the other.

No comments: