Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets  
defying social distancing protocols to protest
Police used riot gear, billy clubs and stun guns
water cannons, tear gas, and pepper spray
to quash dissent  
protesters throwing objects like plastic bottles and umbrellas
petrol bombs, poles,
a lively protest movement  
taking matters into its own hands
returned to the streets
reflects an intensification of longstanding tensions
the atmosphere was unusually strained
in anticipation of a harsh police crackdown
the real patriots
fundamentally change the landscape of dissent
People said they are not afraid of the coronavirus
we can all agree at the end of the day
we will make them face justice
over 1.3 billion racist right-wing extremists,  
migrant workers, day-wage laborers  
Armed masked men, passers-by, politicians
Western lackeys, parents, teachers
religious groups, transgender people,
gang members, women, rural residents
critics, judges, experts, advisors 
activists, journalists, photographers
many arriving by chartered bus
some demonstrators were openly carrying firearms
screaming at law enforcement officers
an American flag with a naked doll
a powder keg dynamic that is dangerous  
thousands of vehicles jammed the streets
This is a spontaneous public outburst
they were met with stiff resistance
The protest was the outcome of desperation and despair
the pandemic is likely to intensify the pain and suffering 
if we’re not concerned yet, we’re not paying attention.

taken from results for the search term ‘the protesters’ from,,,

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. julia

    what a powerful poem, cecil….here is my thought:
    we have become intolerant of otherness.
    i heard that on the radio a few weeks ago.
    i wrote a collage-poem about it.
    i continue to see this in so many interaction.
    we (not all) are incapable of seeing the otherness of the person in front of us.
    we feel threatened by their otherness.
    we feel their otherness threatens our own “rightness”.
    where will we go from here?
    these are my concerns tonite.
    thank you for this poem.

  2. touchon

    Thank you for your kind words Julia

    It seems the more we identify ourselves
    as men,
    as women,
    as black,
    Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, etc.
    as conservative or liberal or independant
    or disenfranchised or privileged,
    as hispanic, white or asian,
    as tough or gentle,
    as anything specific, which we are all prone to do,
    in this world of differences and distinctions
    then we locate ourselves in some sort of group
    or maybe in many different intertwined groups
    with whom we identify
    with those who seem similar to us
    or with whom we aspire to be similar to
    and groups tend to develop an identity
    that we, assuming ourselves a member, tend to conform to,
    tend to take lessons from,
    and ideas, behaviors, patterns, attitudes
    something to guide us along a trail
    so that we feel as if we are a part of something more than just our own listless self.
    Then that sense of connection creates a feeling of loyalty and fealty
    which gives a feeling of purpose
    and this encourages us to then try to define
    what we are and what we are not
    so that we feel clear about ourselves
    because everyone likes clarity
    but then it becomes clear that most are not like us
    not like who we are in our identity as a member of some or many groups
    and then everyone else becomes ‘Other’.
    They have other ideas, other behaviors
    a different sense of identity
    a different take on the world
    a different language that we don’t understand
    and all of that challenges our feeling of wholeness
    and many groups’ identities encourage that distinction
    this is what we believe
    this is who we are
    this is how we look at it, etc
    this way is the best way
    this way is the only way
    and if you are not with us
    you are part of them – the Others.

    The thing is, we are all the Others to all the others as well.

    We all know that we are all in the same boat together
    We all know that we are all US in the end
    It is obvious and undeniable
    but in order for us to exercise our discrimination,
    our ability to distinguish one thing from another thing
    to feel clear
    to feel a part of something we can grasp
    to understand the small things
    because the big things are beyond our understanding
    then we all tend to keep to the small places
    where we can feel the walls
    where we can understand the limitations
    where we can feel certainty of purpose

    but we can grow out of that
    we can become bigger that the little places we inhabit
    we can extend our sense of self identity
    to absorb Otherness
    to be comfortable with a world that we can’t wrap our arms around
    but that does require a lot of letting go of little things
    it is impossible to embrace others
    if our arms and our hearts are full of those little things
    our grocery bags full of beliefs and convictions and prejudices
    we have to put them down to give a hug to the others
    and ask them how they are doing
    and invite them for a cup of tea
    or to break bread together
    or to tell our stories
    and to laugh and cry together

    That’s one idea.

  3. julia

    You are absolutely right, of course..and i would like to correct a mistake i made above..rather saying we are incapable of seeing their otherness, i mean, we are unable to tolerate their otherness, for the very reasons you have explained. The question arises: why can’t you be more like ME? And of course, how boring our world would be if THAT became true!
    We are certainly at a very interesting point in our human history…and there are a lot of us! And everyone wants their way…that could be a problem…
    I agree to breaking bread, and tea, laughter and tears.. maybe meditation together too…but that might be a bit much for starters, right? Thanks for your wonderful reply!

  4. touchon

    ‘meditation together’ Yes, nothing better than an open heart and a placid mind to let in the light.

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The Protesters – Cecil Touchon