The rent-a-crowd shouting "the price of inks stinks" may have made more noise, but the protesters demanding the freeing of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi were more worthy of our attention.
Today at lunchtime in Sydney's Martin Place, a crowd gathered to protest against the high price of printer ink cartridges. Some of the "protesters" handed out cards calling for an "ink revolution". However, the Web link (www.priceofinkstinks.com) contained on the cards doesn't take you to a discussion forum on the topic, rather it redirects you to the company behind today's phony protest -- let's just say it's a large American Kompany which specialises in printers, cameras and film.
While we do agree that the cost of replacement ink cartridges is extortionate in relation to the price of printers -- and the inclusion of limited-use cartridges on many cheaper printers is truly irksome -- it's a shame that the timing and location of the "protest" was, at best, unfortunate. The crowd spruiking ink products marched loudly around a group of protesters who had gathered to demand freedom for Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for over 18 years.
Spot the worthier protest
With protests by Buddhist monks in Burma -- a country whose ruling junta are renowned for taking a particularly hard line on dissent -- heading into a third straight day, it may have been better to relocate today's ink march elsewhere. Martin Place does span four city blocks, after all, so there's plenty of space for marketing-types to do their thing without drowning out the voices of those wanting to highlight more grievous injustices in our world.
Those interested in Aung San Suu Kyi's imprisonment and the current protests being held in Burma should visit the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the U.S. Campaign for Burma, the Burma Campaign UK and the Freedom Campaign Web sites.