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More Than Meets the Eye
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When is it justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law for the sake of their cause?

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My Balls Are Hard As Steele
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When is it justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law for the sake of their cause?

I fully support protesters and activists when it comes to the causes that they fight for in the world. I’m a big support of Free Speech. While I have never been in a protest or been an activist, I do speak my mind to the fullest. And that’s what protesters and activists to do for their causes, which can be a government protest or a protest for human rights or anything like that. They are allowed to voice their opinions on those situations by protesting. Protesting and activism has been around for ages. Some of the best known positive activists have been Martin Luther King Jr and Gloria Steinem. Mr. King fought for more civil rights for the African American community and Mrs. Steinem fought for more rights for women. As for the best known negative activists, The Westboro Baptist Church is one of the best known in the US. They protest at public events and funerals with them being anti-gay protests. But all of these people, while you can agree or disagree with their causes, do have the right to protest, even if it’s good or bad. Now, let’s get to the question, when is it justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law for the sake of their cause. I only have one word for it, Never. You should never break the law for your cause. The law allows you to protest your cause to the fullest, without breaking it. That's the reason we have free speech. When you break the law, you are hurting your cause. You are also putting yourself and others in danger by breaking the law because they can turn into riots and they can become very violent which can lead to serious injuries or even death. But I also like to point out that the police in these situations are also the causes of violence when they push the boundaries and the law during the protests. Some person can be minding their own business and then all of the sudden the police are attacking them. There’s no reason for that. You’re job is to keep the peace but you don’t have to overdo it when you don’t have too. You just hope that all protests can be peaceful were violence and breaking the law doesn’t have to happen but sadly, that isn’t always the case. You can say a lot in a positive way when you do a peaceful and respectful protest. But you also can say a lot in a negative way when you don't do a peaceful and respectful protest. You really don't want to do the second part, as it hurts you and your cause and it can hurt others in a violent way.
 

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When is it justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law for the sake of their cause?

Since the dawn of time, humans have voiced their opinion in protest. From the humble beginnings of Adam and Eve, where Adam protested God’s decision to remove Eve from the Garden of Eden, the human race has been one to protest for causes they believe in, and actively demonstrate for these courses.

The question above is asking us when it is justifiable for a protestor or activist to break the law, for the sole sake of their cause. The simple answer is never. It is never justifiable to break the law, no matter the circumstances. Fair enough that the person believes in their opinion so deeply that they will go to any length necessary to express it, or protect it, but this must be done within the confines of the law that society has put together to ensure the protection and pleasant living of all the citizens.

Take this for instance – a man accidentally kills a child at a road crossing. He is found not guilty by a court of law. The father of the child seeks vengeance upon the accused, and murders him. Is that justifiable? No, it isn’t. He committed murder upon an innocent man who was cleared by the judicial system. For those in the know, that’s a plotline from Saw 3, but the point still remains.

What does that have to do with protestors and activists then, I here you ask. Well, it’s the same principle – no matter what wrong or injustice you feel is being / has been committed, you have no right whatsoever to go above the law and break it. At the end of the day, you’re giving yourself a bad name, as well as the organisation that you represent, and it gives the impression to general society that the others who support your cause are going to do likewise, thus seriously harming the chances of your protest or action ever being successful.

The most common crimes that can be committed at the site of a protest or action include: obstructing traffic; breach of the peace; trespass; loitering; and refusal to obey a police instruction (taken from http://users.senet.com.au/~gregogle/Free Speech Speech.htm). Whilst these crimes may seem insignificant to the general observer, they are still crimes no matter the way in which they are viewed. Is a cause worthy of serving jail time? For some, it may be, but in the modern world that we live in, and the ever-present danger of terrorism, the prosecutors of these offenders may push for harsher sentencing on those found guilty, which would delve into civil unrest. It’s a drastic conclusion, but its human nature and bound to happen. That would then lead to more protests and actions against those found guilty, and the cycle continues.

A protest or action held peacefully, within the confines of the law, is a lot more effective, and beneficial to everyone involved. It allows the message to get across effectively, and appropriate actions to be taken to address these messages of concern.
 
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