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Fighting for Freedom

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 19 March 2014

As part of the Freedom season, Dr Kevin Fong presents a programme on the health hazards of protests. The right to protest is part of the freedom that democracy brings, and the need to police that protest is accepted as necessary in protecting that essential freedom.

So how does society walk that tight rope between vociferous but peaceful dissent and violent civil disorder? And when it does go wrong, what recourse should authorities have? How and how far should force be escalated and what is there to be won and lost in the process?

Dr Kevin Fong speaks to members of the public who have been caught up in protests and medical professionals who have witnessed first-hand the effects of less lethal and lethal weaponry, including everything from CS gas and water cannons to rubber bullets and live ammunition. He examines the psychology of crowds, the different styles of policing around the world and police officers explain the realities of policing protests today.

Picture credit: Protesters clash with riot police during an opposition rally in the centre of Kiev, Ukraine. Photographer: Sergei Supinsky, APF/Getty Images

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