Taking the Brunt of a Protest

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Taking the Brunt of a Protest

Swapnil Bharali | January 10, 2021 16:04 hrs


The videos on Twitter made for an unbelievable sight. Angry Americans purported to be supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump turned violent in an organized manner to desecrate the United States Capitol on Wednesday purely because they were not being able to yet digest their preferred leader’s loss in the US elections held in November last.  

While the scenes of riots were shameful for other Americans who were saner with the likes of Michelle Obama tweeting strong notes of regret, the American society comes across as somewhat racially divided today. 


The latest angst by the white Americans clearly stems from last summer’s very peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protests undertaken by the cosmopolitan or multi-racial American society to protest the brutal killings of black people by the American police. 


While protests in the US have generally been peaceful, the storming of the Capitol in Washington DC came as a shock to everyone around the world and more so to the residents of the city as also the hotels that had hosted the protestors. That the security forces at the Capitol building were ill-prepared for the onslaught was also clearly evident as it took the police force close to four hours to secure the area and see the back of the armed protestors. 


Perhaps Washington DC has not had too many occasions to deal with rioters because proud American protestors consider it demeaning and unpatriotic to be destroying public property in the name of protests. But on this occasion, Washington DC was left scathed and the city was glad to see the back of the protestors.


In Guwahati, desecrating public property is almost considered a form of violent art. One cannot help but recall the last time when, during the anti-CAA protests of December 2019, Guwahati was left destroyed and devastated by organised rioters who clearly did not belong to the city. Institutions that define our city like the Kalakshetra and Assam Secretariat were defaced besides the freshly painted walls of the city which was being readied for the Indo-Japan summit that was scheduled for January next.


Protesting is after all a democratic right but when protests lose its peace it is the venue of the protest that takes the biggest brunt. I am not sure how much protest Washington DC sees on a daily basis but Guwahati has had its fair share and many of these have been violent leaving the city scarred and burnt. 

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