German website offers rent-a-protester service
Can't be arsed waving a banner? Click here
You know how it is: you feel very strongly that the government really ought to address the issue of rampant unemployment among immigrant Romanian single mothers in the Frankfurt sausage-making industry, but can't actually be bothered to get up off the sofa and hit the streets in protest. Fear not, for help is at hand in the shape of Erento.com, where agitators are renting out their services to worthy causes.
For example, as the BBC explains, "next to a black and white posed picture, Melanie lists her details from her jeans size to her shoe size and tells potential protest organisers that she is willing to be deployed up to 100km around Berlin". Six hours of Melanie giving forth will set you back €145.
An Erento.com spokesman was "unable to say how many demonstrators had been booked since the service was launched earlier this month, but that there had certainly been demand".
Indeed, German media has reported that a Munich march "hired protesters because its own adherents were too old to stand for hours waving banners".
If you're wondering whether these rent-a-protestors will accept cash for any old cause, think again. Erento.com "stresses that no protester needs to offer their services to a cause they object to, and therefore many may genuinely believe in the protest they are joining".
This cuts little ice with some German commentators. The Beeb notes that one recently wrote: "It seems to confirm the increasingly common assumption that democracy is for sale." ®