Troubling scenes from the frontlines of a 'revolution'
Michelle Sum Hiu-yan, Heep Yunn School
Protesters all over the world have taken to the streets. At times, their demonstrations have turned violent, with clashes between police and protesters.
In places like Britain, Greece, Italy and the United States, riots have become commonplace over recent weeks. The protests have spread like wildfire as people with similar grievances have decided to 'take action'.
Tensions are high and the global protests may escalate as people continue to suffer from the economic downturn.
Often security forces are responsible for fanning the flames of violence with their heavy-handed crackdowns on protesters. They have resorted to frequent arrests and the use of tear gas and water cannons.
Videos on YouTube show police officers manhandling and beating protesters, including women.
Such incidents have further inflamed protesters' anti-police sentiments. Security forces have become convenient targets for accusations that they use rough tactics to silence free speech.
While that may at times be the case, we also have to remember that, from Britain to Greece, protesters have often acted inappropriately themselves. They looted shops and set fire to both public and private properties.
Some protesters have used free-spirited demonstrations as an excuse to create mayhem.
While we must value our freedom of expression, we should also remember that we need to respect the rights of others by obeying laws and exercising our own rights responsibly.
People who join demonstrations should not use them as an excuse to run riot in the name of a 'revolution'. It hardly serves the common good to set about destroying properties and creating unnecessary disturbances.
Tellingly, many demonstrators who are caught brawling, looting and destroying complain that their rights have been violated when police move in to arrest them.
It is the police's job to maintain law and order. Lashing out at officers will not fix the economy or promote change and development.
If people hope to improve their living standards, they should present their demands peacefully.
Changes are necessary for improvement and progress. Yet protesters should understand their own responsibilities as citizens. They should exercise their rights in a peaceful and rational manner.