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Pay to Protest?

Many around the world have exercised their right to protest in the past week. So in this bulletin, a stimulus to explore the concept of protest itself. It can be used as a stand-alone session, or as part of Citizenship/PSHE.

To provide a way in, the attached dialogue raises the idea of having to pay to protest. Like many good stimuli, it subverts a common norm (although perhaps not as far-fetched as it seems – in some areas, management costs can be passed on to the organisers). It also provides two contrasting opinions to give pupils a clear choice from the outset.

Ask two of them to act out the roles. Should protesting always be free of charge, particularly in a time of budget cuts? You could start by asking pupils which character has the better point, and let them give reasons for either side.

To facilitate for even deeper thinking, listen out for new concepts that can be turned into new questions:

Motives:               Are some reasons for protest better than others?
Responsibility:     Should the reason for protest determine who is responsible for the costs?
Rights:                 How far should the right to protest or strike extend?
Decisions:             Pay to Protest When should you not protest?
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With protests and strikes currently making news, it’s also a great opportunity for pupils to draw on examples to support their reasons.
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To add a dramatic twist at any point, put pupils in the role of the the man’s fellow protesters, with you as the constable, and let the narrative develop organically. What should they decide to do next? It may lead to a discussion about resolving conflict.
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