Violent Protests in Paris

The Guardian’s Sunday piece on the COP21 protests in Paris highlights the inefficacy of “legitimate” protest.

A day of celebration and hope in Paris disintegrated into rioting and clashes with police on Sunday, after anti-capitalists and anarchists hijacked a peaceful event organised by climate activists earlier in the day.

About 200 protesters, some wearing masks, fought with police on a street leading to la place de la République, which has become a gathering place for Parisians since the terror attacks on 13 November that killed 130 people. Witnesses said floral and other tributes were trampled in the melee.

The implication here is that those protesters who engaged in violent struggle were somehow illegitimate. If the only legitimate protesters are the toothless who have very catchy chants, but no desire to disrupt how the system works, how can we expect any change to occur?

The stick activists wave is civil unrest, and they must be prepared to use it or else face business as usual and the ensuing slide into environmental catastrophe.