For years, Guelph has been a hotbed of protest, a very politically inclined city on a variety of issues including climate change, poverty, workers rights, equality, Black Lives Matter, and the systemic abuse of Indigenous peoples. Last Wednesday, direct action was on display again as people gathered in Market Square, but this was a protest completely unlike any other in a number of ways, and we need to take a moment to unpack things.
To recap, last Wednesday morning about about 250 people gathered in Market Square under the banner called “1 Million March 4 Children" to address concerns about sex education, plus parental rights and input. On the other side was a crowd nearly three times the size who had their own concerns that terms like "parental rights" were thinly-veiled attacks on queer youths by erasing them and their identity from schools and the greater community.
For added difficulty, the “1 Million March 4 Children” featured some holdovers from other protests in recent years like anger about mask and vaccine mandates, which no longer exist, or concerns about the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, who have to influence on education policy in Ontario. How do you approach a protest based on misinformation, and how to you talk to the people turned by that misinformation and suspicious of journalists covering the story?
Troy Bridgeman knows something about that. He's a freelance journalist working in Guelph, and if there’s a protest in town, you’ll probably see Troy there with his camera. He's going to talk about how the “1 Million March 4 Children” was a different kind of protest to cover, and the strangeness of having two protests happening at the same time. He will also discuss how people live different lives online, what will happen next with this movement, and what he plans to do with all those hours of protest footage.
So let's talk about protesting and covering a protest on this week's Guelph Politicast!
You can find Troy Bridgeman’s work on Guelph Today and other Village Media sites, and you can follow him on Twitter at troybridgman. You can also check out coverage of last week’s "1 Million March 4 Children" and the counter-protest at the Guelph Politico main site.
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