Five Glaswegians will appear in court today, charged with criminal offences for protesting at an army day parade. It is understood that those arrested were singing or chanting republican slogans.
If you haven’t heard of ‘Army Day’ until now, that is because it is a newfangled invention. On the back of a deeply unpopular war, it would seem that the powers that be feel that a new set of propaganda excersizes is in order. Thus on Saturday parades took place through Britain’s towns and cities.
Now if the army feel the need to hold propaganda excersizes in our town squares then that is up to them. But they cannot expect to do so wihtout encountering dissent. As a citizen, I am regularly involved in propaganda excerises in the streets of my city. I have gone on countless demonstrations. And on a great many we have encountered vocal opposition. And this is fine. It is called free expression. I have the right march or parade or demonstrate and other people have the right to express verbal opposition.
So why should the army get special treatment? Why should the army be entitled not only to hold propaganda excerises, but to expect that any dissent will be silenced by the full force of the law? I find Army Parades such as these distasteful and idiotic. But I am far more appalled by the idea that our normal rights to free expression should be suspended so that they can go unchallenged.