Strategy for dealing with stone pelting
Okay, so these teens insist they are attacking only the armed forces. Why not send a bunch of civilian volunteers to talk? Journalists, general adrenaline addicts… people who understand that there is a risk, but are willing to take it in the name of connecting with that bunch there.
They can take along some stuff of their own. Posters, video cameras for interviews, etc. The stone pelters want publicity, we drown them in it. As much publicity as they want. Humour. National integration music…. If they are truly peaceful, some kind of conversation is bound to emerge. If they are not, at least the pretense will be gone.
Masses and masses of people there to go and meet these guys. Talk with them all day. Hear their grievances. Obviously, with regular civilians mixed into the crowd, the army can be in no doubt that they would be attacking bonafide innocents so to say, even if there were doubts as to the innocence of the stone pelters.
Another big message this would send out is that “Look, we are interested in listening to you. We are interested in connecting. And we trust you when you say you are ‘harmless’.” Lets talk.
You’ve planned to spend the day here, so have we. You need the publicity, we’ve brought it. Let’s spend the day talking about what you want. Talk all you like, and we’ll keep listening.
I think the solution to this unrest is not by putting curfews and wrestling them down, but in upping the stakes. We’ve got innocent civilians on the street too, and this time, you are the guys armed. Let’s see how you walk the talk. Get volunteers from all over the country, and maintain a steady flow of people whose only job is “on the streets relating”.