It can be a confusing life for protesters keen to voice their opinions at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles.
First the police inform them that a march can go ahead, then they cancel it, and then – with just a few hours to go – they change their minds again and say the march can go on.
No such confusion exists in the virtual world where protesters keen to avoid a baton on the head – or those unable to attend the non-march/march – can shout at the screen, blow tuneless whistles, chant slogans and get involved with a virtual demonstration from the comfort of their own bedroom.
The “virtual rally”, put together by the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, allows politically agitated web surfers to choose an avatar and take part in demonstrations in a virtual Edinburgh.
Via a slick Flash interface, surfers can mix and match the look of their virtual protester, add their own slogan to their virtual banner and then join the throng of thousands outside a virtual Gleneagles (happily with no virtual heavy-handed policemen around).
The organisers claim that over 38,000 people have so far taken part in the virtual rally.
All those signing up will have their names added to the online petition, the Live 8 list, which is being sent directly to the G8 leaders.
The Make Poverty History campaign have been quick to embrace new technology for their worthy cause, running a successful web banner campaign, SMS petitions, emails and the use of a text messaging lottery to offer tickets for Live 8.
This latest online rally is a great example of how the web can be used to mobilise protest. We like it!