A 'Fart-In' is now officially a form of protest

THE United States has trumped us again with an entry into the annals of bizarre protests that blows away any Australia has had to offer in recent memory. Desperation for a headline makes people do funny things.

A few years ago, Belgian dairy farmers sprayed thousands of litres of milk at the European Union headquarters to protest low prices. They even herded cattle into the centre of Brussels and squirted udder juice at bemused riot police. Straight from the teat, as it were.

Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi shot to fame after hurling two shoes at former US president George Bush while shouting, "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," and being sent to jail barefoot.

A US middle schooler got airtime in 2012 after duct-taping his arms to his sides to protest his school's new no-touching rule, which included high-fives and backslapping - a response to a kid getting punted fair in the goolies and needing medical attention to his tender groin region.

If only my cohort had been so politically active when our primary school principal banned Pokemon cards due to the inevitable schoolyard bashings and standover tactics employed to swindle kids out of their rare cards.

All of these protests have an element of shock, but apparently adding some good old-fashioned disgust to the mix can work as well.

Enter the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign: a grassroots organisation that says it is committed to "uniting the poor across colour lines to build a broad movement to abolish poverty".

Malcontent Bernie Sanders supporters are among the hundreds of people expected to partake in a beans pig-out before heading to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of this month.

Full to bursting with the fruit that makes you toot, they plan to clench tight until Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the podium. Then it will be a finger-pulling free-for-all, a synchronised discharge of flatus, with bottom- burping protesters letting rip the loudest and most (ob)noxious rumbles their bloated guts can muster.

"Because we think (Clinton) stinks, we're going to hold a fart-in," event co-ordinator Cheri Honkala told the National Post.

"We're expecting this thing to be a real gas."

Ah, what kind of a life would it be without puns?

The group has been accepting cans of beans as donations, which were apparently expected to shoot through the roof after Sanders officially endorsed Clinton this week.

A novel and retch-worthy idea, perhaps, but I get the feeling this has been done before.

When 150 climate-change protesters held a sit-in at Parliament House in Canberra in December, there would have been a certain stale tang to the air.

At least a few of them would have had a fairly legume-heavy diet, judging by the haircuts.



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