Freedom of speech means listening to each other

Another Waitangi Day – another violent protest.  The right to peaceful protest is fundamental in a liberal democracy.  However, when a handful of malcontents can prevent the Prime Minister from being heard then something is very wrong.  Just as the protestors have the right to make their views known in a peaceful and orderly way so too the Prime Minister has the right to attend an event to which he has been invited – without loutish thugs attempting to use him as a tackle bag.  He should also be accorded the opportunity to have his say.  Others may disagree with his views but freedom to express  those views is a precious thing.  We should be concerned when a minority of political activists try to take away such freedoms. It’s a real shame that on a marae, of all places, each of the participants couldn’t have their say and listen to the speakers with some respect.

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