Karl du Fresne on protesting

Karl du Fresne writes about protestors and protesting:

Protesters are indulged to the extent that authorities routinely allow them to conduct street marches that inconvenience other people.  In much of the world this would be unthinkable.

But protesters too often interpret this tolerance as a general licence to disrupt, which is where they get it wrong. Generally speaking, the right to protest ends at the point where it obstructs the rights of others.

When protesters become so pumped up with self-righteousness that they believe they’re entitled – indeed, have a moral duty – to interfere with the rights of others, public sympathy for their cause rapidly evaporates.

We’ve seen a lot of this lately. The day before the Wanganui incident, Greenpeace protesters blocked all the entrances to the SkyCity convention centre, where a petroleum industry conference was underway. People were unable to get in or out.

Police took a lenient line, as they almost invariably do, removing some protesters but apparently making no arrests.  

They were similarly indulgent with the anti-TPPA Waitangi Day protester who hit cabinet minister Steven Joyce with a flying dildo and inexplicably escaped prosecution for assault. Perhaps the police were too busy processing dangerous spinsters who’d been intercepted at checkpoints for having half a glass of sherry too many.

Then there were the protesters dressed as clowns who invaded a public meeting held in Auckland to explain the free trade agreement.

Never were protesters more appropriately disguised. They were far more clownish than they realised, noisily disrupting an event that was held to do exactly what the anti-TPPA camp had been demanding: namely, to reveal more about details of the agreement.

Plainly, these buffoons weren’t remotely interested in information or disclosure. They were getting off on the adrenalin buzz of protesting.

But the gold standard of protester arrogance remains the actions of the three men who sabotaged the Waihopai electronic listening post in 2008, causing damage that taxpayers had to pay for. The official estimate was $1.2 million.

The sanctimonious saboteurs claimed to have Jesus Christ’s backing, although how they could be so sure of that was never explained.

Protestors always seem to think that their rights trump everyone elses’ rights.

They’re wrong of course, but that doesn’t stop them doing what they want to do.


– Karl Du Fresne



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  • John

    I wonder why McCready never initiated a private prosecution against the dildo thrower.

  • Chris Bell

    Protestors stand up for Socialism – which I understand is equal rights and opportunities for all – but they are the ones who tend to be layabouts who do nothing but moan but then expect everything to go their way and be entitled to everything the hard working populace have – utter BS and as hollow as the skulls that scream from their picket lines

  • Superman

    This is why Trump’s supporters resort to violence against protesters. Their rights are trampled while the protesters get a free ride. This will continue until the law is upheld equally for all.

  • Herbert Charles

    Protestors used to be seen as heroic and fearless standing up to “the man”. Now these days all you get are a bunch of no hopers that have overdosed on a few too many conspiracy theory videos on youtube.

  • Michelle

    The more they protest and disrupt law abiding citizens the more hated they become and the message they are trying to convey is lost
    so when they see Labour or Greens standing in on these protests all that happens is the public are even less likely to vote for them

  • Graeme

    These clowns are so proud of what they do that many hide their faces. Why?

  • Dog Breath

    I wonder how much further money was spent after the Waihopai incident on bolstering security after the attack, security is not cheap so the $1.2 million is probably the starting cost, it would not surprise me if a lot of $ has been spent to reduce the risk of it happening again which adds to the cost of this act.