blackberry-logoSafety issues and commuter hassle aside for one moment, the genocide protests held by Toronto Tamils on Sunday night, as they took over the Gardiner Expressway, a major east-west highway in the city,  showed a great sense of community.

From what I heard from George Lagogianes on CP24, the ad hoc commandeering of the elevated highway was organized with the help of social devices, specifically using Blackberries and other phones like it.

Sunday night’s example shows how the more we become connected as a society through social media, the easier it is to come together with one e-mail, tweet, or posting to stand up for our political beliefs. The incredible amount of people that showed up eventually – after about a six-hour standoff with police – caused someone in the Government to take notice.

It’s nice to see social media being put to use for a political movement. All too often it gets a bad rap for being a bunch of drivel with little value, when it clearly isn’t. If you want to show a timely case study on how having a strong community can create passion and unity, this looks like a good example to me.

Taking over a busy expressway, putting the lives of many drivers, protesters, children and officers in danger, was probably one of the worst ways to go about getting a message across.  That being said, if they’d conducted their protest in a “legitimate” manner, it would’ve quickly become yesterday’s news, and everyone would forget about it.

The protesters came together with the goal of raising not only awareness, but action by the Canadian government on the issue. What better way than to upset the general population enough that the government decides to do something to stop the protests? It’s sad, but it takes this kind of action to get government officials moving on important issues like this.

With protests like this one do you feel using social devices is the new norm in the 21st century for organizing protests?

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