Abdulah: Peaceful protests not always effective

 - Vashti Singh
- Vashti Singh

POLITICAL leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah has said while they are at times necessary, peaceful protests are “not always effective.”

He made the statement at a press conference in San Fernando on Wednesday afternoon.

The purpose of the press conference, he said, was to address the protests on Tuesday linked to the police shooting of three men – Joel Jacob, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond. They were shot dead in Morvant on Saturday.

Protesters blocked roads with burning debris and marched Port of Spain, calling for the arrest of the officers involved in the shooting.

When Newsday asked whether he believes peaceful protests are effective in TT, Abdulah said, “They are necessary because people need to express their interests and their concerns and problems, and one way of doing so democratically is to engage in peaceful protest. It can be very effective…Peaceful protests do advance a cause.”

But he added, “When it comes to the institutional arrangements of a dysfunctional system of parliament or a Cabinet system that does not work in the interest of people of changing the judicial system and the criminal justice system, protests and lobbying and advocating have not yet been able to change those things, because the status quo – and those who benefit from the status quo – benefit from that, and therefore they’re resistant to change.”

Asked by Newsday for his personal definition of justice, he said, “It is that world where not only are people’s rights respected and those people benefit from those rights to have a decent life in the society, to be able to live in peace and in harmony, to have equal opportunities to advance…

“So justice means having an economic system that serves the good of all not the good of a few, so the many can benefit from the many resources of this country and not be excluded.”

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