‘Peaceful Anna protest a benchmark’

August 28th, 2011 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Anna Hazare New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Activist Anna Hazare’s “historic and peaceful protest” at Ramlila Maidan can serve as an excellent example of how to mobilise people in a democracy, a noted social scientist said Sunday.

“The supporters of Anna have set an excellent example. Despite large numbers, they did not violate any law,” social scientist N. Bhaskar Rao told IANS.

Drawing parallels between Anna’s anti-graft movement and a protest rally organised by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King in Washington DC in 1966 against the Vietnam War, Rao said supporters of Hazare showed “it is possible to protest in a democracy without creating a law and order problem”.

“They used the new media and social media effectively to mobilise people for their cause,” said Rao.

Trying to explain the psyche of the protesters, Rao said most of Anna’s supporters “went out to express their anger against rampant corruption in the country and a desire to do something about it”.

“I think the middle class has been upset with a series of scams unearthed in the past few months. What fuelled their anger was that seemingly not much was being done by the government to check it,” said Rao.

A political researcher said the Anna movement could gather huge support as supporters “realised any violence would defeat the cause”.

“In the event of any violence by the supporters, the movement would have been lost completely,” he added

Deputy Commissioner of Police Vivek Kishore, who supervised security at Ramlila Maidan, had some good words for Anna’s supporters.

“I am relieved. Our people managed the protest well.”

“By and large the crowd was peaceful. They listened to our commands and followed traffic rules whenever they staged marches,” he said.

However, agreeing there were some tense moments, police said that though thousands of protesters converged at the venue, at times they had to deal with unruly crowd.

Elaborating on the arrangements, Kishore said: “There was access control at all the gates of Ramlila Maidan. All the people were frisked. Police personnel were deployed at the venue round-the-clock.”

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