One of the myths that we are told is that police and military are all necessary because as human beings we can not gather together without violence breaking out. According to the police and the military, if we gather together in numbers, then we must have them providing 'security' and 'keeping the peace'.
As an old hippie, one sees the fallacy of this. As at times you are around tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of peaceful people having a good time and getting along just fine with each other without a cop 'keeping the peace' anywhere in sight. Which is why this wikipedia article caught my eye.
This is a list of the largest historic peaceful gatherings of people in one place for a single event. For brevity, only gatherings in excess of 1 million are recorded.
Over fifty million
An estimated 73 million people had gathered in Shanghai, China for the World Expo 2010, which started in May, 2010 and ran until the end of October.
An estimated 60 to 70 million people gathered over 45 days in Allahabad, India for the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest gathering in January 2007.
An estimated 50 million people gathered over 104 days in Haridwar, India for the Maha Kumbh Mela between January and April 2010. More than 16 million people together took the ritualistic bath on the bathing ghats on April 14, 2010.
Over ten million
Pilgrimage to Sabarimala Hindu temple in Kerala, India is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world with an estimated 45–50 million devotees visiting every year.
An estimated 40 million people gathered over 41 days in Sabarimala, India between 15 November and 26 December 2008.
An estimated 34 million people gathered over 11 days in Rajahmundry, India for Godavari pushkaram between 31 july and 10 august 2003.
An estimated 15 million people attended the funeral of C. N. Annadurai in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969.
An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2009.
An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2010.
An estimated 9 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba'een in 2008.
An estimated 8 million people attended the annual feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines on January 2011
An estimated 7 million people attended the 25th anniversary of El Shaddai Manila, Philippines.
An estimated 5 million people gathered in Sabarimala, India on 14 January 2007.
Over 5 million people attended a World Youth Day Rally in Manila, The Philippines in 1995 to see Pope John Paul II.[22
I don't see Olympic Games on the list. That was probably the largest peaceful crowd I'd ever been around. Was there a million people in Atlanta for the '96 games? Or, I guess someone could claim it wasn't peaceful, since a white, right-wing, anti-abortion terrorist blew up a bomb at a concert that week. But, I'd argue that this was violence that came from the outside. It didn't come from the people who were there for the games, but instead came from a crazy, right-wing nutter who treated the peaceful, fun-loving crowds as a target for their own expressions of hate and violence.
Anyways, as humans, we can gather in great numbers, and do so in a spirit of peace and respect for those around us. Don't ever let the police or military types tell you differently.