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Political protesters

By Steven | October 31, 2011

Interesting that both our major parties’ election events had speeches interrupted by protesters over the weekend. Protesters reportedly urged John Key to “stop the war against the poor”, began to unfurl a banner and tried to throw something onto the stage.

A protester at Labour’s transport policy launch called out to ask what the party was going to do about the homeless and mentally ill.

It seems that in both instances the protesters were removed.

I don’t know any more details. But I have more respect for leaders who try to engage with hecklers before biffing them out. Stage-managed, invitation-only launches like National’s don’t feel like authentic democratic politics to me. And one might have thought that given Labour’s opening address emphasising the party’s roots as champions of the disadvantaged, its spokespeople should be more accommodating toward questions like that one.

If protesters can get our politicians off their scripts, more power to their elbows, I say. I don’t hold out much hope though.

[PS See the comment below. It seems I’m being unduly harsh on Labour. Perhaps my fire should be aimed at the reporting…]

Topics: Protest speech | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Political protesters”

  1. ScottY Says:
    October 31st, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Steven, I was at the Labour Party rally and the guy who protested was either drunk or mentally ill. I know because I was right next to him. He was mumbling incoherently at times and he also thought Phil Goff was National’s leader.

    Also, he was not removed or even pushed back. He sayed where he was near the front of the rally. He was told by Phil Twyford that someone would talk to him after the speeches. I could be wrong, but I think it was David Cunliffe who then went and had a chat to him afterwards. I know someone did.

    Contrast this with how the protesters were treated at the National rally…

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