News - January 19, 2011

Pixel protest

Exams? Sick? All you have is a weekend travel pass? No problem; you can still join the protest at the Malieveld this Friday from home. By getting a digital stand-in to take your place during the demonstration against cabinet plans on higher education.

Anyone can go to to create a digital green puppet with a banner and a reason for being absent. The figures walk across the screen in a growing procession,  some holding boards which say: 'Runners come to a dead end' or 'Can't do without slow-studying students'. The advertising firm behind this idea had got in touch with student organizations to implement it.
'Right away, we found this an ingenious idea.  Just like in the Rally to Restore Sanity in the United States, many people would not be able to make it on Friday. They have to work or sit for an exam although they support the event', says Sander Breur, chairman of the Dutch National Union of Students.
Not only will the green puppets chalk up kilometres on the internet, they will also be seen moving across a big screen at the central train station in The Hague, as well as at the Malieveld, on Friday.
But aren't the student organizations afraid that other students would just stay home and send their digital stand-ins?  Breur: 'Not at all. People often talk about 2.0 demonstrations. We think that this is the way to do it.'