The road to civil disobedience
Thanks to the BC Civil Liberties Association for presenting protest rights workshops across BC’s northwest this week. The calm and cogent presentation outlined the laws around peaceful gatherings and what protesters can expect from police and what their rights are when the police question, detain or arrest participants.
Most peaceful protest does not involve the breaking of any laws. Marches, sit-ins, gatherings, and picket lines are legal methods of drawing public, government and industry attention to concerns about unjust laws, unfair practices, or dangerous activities. Often, in fact, it seems the public needs to organize demonstrations to pressure government or police to enforce existing laws: sawmills blow up, rivers are polluted, air quality is toxic and nothing happens until the public pressures officials to step in.
Civil disobedience occurs when people knowingly break laws they consider unjust (Rosa Parks sitting near the front of the bus) or break laws to prevent activities they consider wrong (Haida elders blocking logging on Lyell Island or Tahltan elders blocking access to the Sacred Headwaters).
Read the full story here.