Protest action: Is breaking the law ever justifiable?

Protest action: Is breaking the law ever justifiable?

Standing up for your rights and making your voice heard is not something unheard of in South Africa, but when it turns into violence and looting, it becomes another story.

looting truck spar
Facebook / Intelligence Bureau SA

If you were one of those drivers that found themselves on the N3 on Monday, you would have either been heading out of Durban or back into the city and encountered burning tyres and rubble near the Mooi River toll plaza. If this was you, how are your frustration levels doing this morning?

Read - Protest action: N3 road closed at Mooi River

It is reported that protesters took to the streets to complain about the fact that they were not being employed by local truck owners. The N3 was closed in both directions early Monday morning, which sent the stress levels of drivers heading back home after the long weekend through the roof.

The protests quickly turned violent, the toll was blocked, and trucks were looted. This video below made the rounds and had many shocked by the behaviour of the protesters.

I wasn’t affected by the traffic chaos, but I can only imagine how irate motorists would have been in the situation. As much as I understand that sometimes protests are necessary, they are also hugely frustrating, and when they affect your daily routine and in this case the roads, it becomes a problem.

The protests got me thinking - is it ever okay for protests to break the law? IOL has reported that ten people were arrested following the protests and are expected to appear in court soon. 

Read: Police officers save infant's life in the middle of traffic

Let's not forget about our beloved stalwarts like Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who protested for change and were even arrested for doing so. SA History reports that back in October 1958, Winnie was arrested for her involvement in the pass laws protest. 

I'm not saying the N3 protesters were wrong for making their voices heard against labour choices, but I don't believe that breaking the law was going to help the situation in any way, as looting is considered a criminal act in South Africa.

What do you think - is it ever justifiable for protesters to break the law?

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