Have Student Protests Become a Vehicle for Anarchists?

Posted on November 10, 2010

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In the space of two weeks we have now seen two student protests hijacked by anarchists on an agenda of their own.

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In Ireland, it was slightly less serious than the scenes in Central London this afternoon (man am I glad I wasn’t there THIS week) but it’s a worrying trend that there are a number of extremist groups both in Ireland and the UK who feel the need to belittle the peaceful efforts of people to have their point heard.

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I’m not against protest, by any means, but blackguardism isn’t going to do you any favours. The UK protest is decidedly worse, although my information is coming from news stations so who knows how much of it is embellished.

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But as I write this, I’ve got Sky News on the TV and there’s no sign of a retreat from the students squatting outside Millbank Tower. The Irish protest faded away after a couple of people get hauled out of the Department of Finance by the Gardai. That either means we have no staying power or we understand that anarchy won’t do us any favours with the general public who pay for our education.

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And something just exploded.

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Seriously, as I typed, something exploded in the middle of the street. There has certainly been moments of absolute thuggery in the UK protests but it’s a discredit to the people who were capable of peacefully protesting, and the same was the case with the Irish protest last week.

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I suppose, from the point of view of these extremist groups, something like a student protest is a hotbed of opportunity to recruit members and disillusion angry,  impressionable young teenagers – kids of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland and kids of New Labour’s unstable affluence in the UK.

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But let me paint my colours quite clearly here, from the get-go. The people who infiltrated these marches and caused them to degenerate into the violent scenes we saw, are scumbags. That’s really the only word for them.

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They can’t stage their own protest because there aren’t enough of them to make a point. They are anarchists who want nothing more than to cause trouble and to do so on their own would result in arrests and criminal prosecutions.

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So what’s the obvious thing to do? Oh of course, infiltrate something like a student process and bask in a wave of relative anonymity. Unfortunately there will always be the impressionable ones who will follow the lead of some of these people, and henceforth, dilute the power of their protest.

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I’m not going to name any groups, most people know who they are. Needless to say to them though: push off an get your own protest.

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To put it in non-educated language that said groups members will understand: We don’t want no trouble.

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But we do want our education.