LETTER : The British way of protest

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The Independent Online
From Mr Gregory Sams

Sir: I notice that in today's edition (24 April) you carry two seemingly unconnected stories on opposite sides of the same page. Figuratively too, these tales represent opposite sides of the same page and should give us cause to rejoice at living in this unique country.

Page 3 is headed "Terror in Oklahoma" and features insights into the libertarian anti-government militias that are being associated with the federal building bombing. Page 4 features a photo and story headed " `New Levellers' in land-rights trespass", and illustrates how the different protest groups in this country have developed military-like but non-violent tactics with which to combat the forces of the state.

Both of these groups, from different perspectives, have come to view the state as a greater danger to society than the traditional diversionary enemies (competing states, religions, or races). They are, neither of them, seeking to get "their party" into power but rather to increase their own viability and freedom as individuals.

In America, this disaffected group has chosen the traditional weapon of the oppressor with which to fight - the gun. In England, on the other hand, the growing disenchanted sector has developed a unique and hi-tech arsenal of non-violent tactics and light-hearted techniques with which to pursue and promote their passionately held causes,

Without the benefit of a disaffected group seeking change within society, we would still be living in the Dark Ages. We should be proud of the innovative, non-violent techniques of protest being developed in this country, which should be nurtured and encouraged rather than opposed with draconian legislation. Let us value what we have, and not process it through harsh laws and the prison system into the violence and hatred manifested in so much of the world today.

Yours faithfully,

GREGORY SAMS

London, NW10

24 April

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