thumb|250px|A "No NATO" protester in Chicago, 2012
Nonviolent resistance (NVR), or nonviolent action, is the practice of achieving goal
s such as social change through symbol
s, civil disobedience
, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha
, or other methods, while being nonviolent
. This type of action highlights the desires of an individual or group that feels that something needs to change to improve the current condition of the resisting person or group.
Nonviolent resistance is largely but wrongly taken as synonymous with civil disobedience
. Each of these terms—nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience—has different connotations and commitments. Berel Lang argues against the conflation of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience on the grounds that the necessary conditions for an act instancing civil disobedience are: (1) that the act violates the law, (2) that the act is performed intentionally, and (3), that the actor anticipates and willingly accepts punitive measures made on the part of the state against him in retaliation for the act. Since acts of nonviolent political resistance need not satisfy any of these criteria, Lang argues that the two categories of action cannot be identified with one another.
Furthermore, civil disobedience is a form of political action which necessarily aims at reform, rather than revolution. Its efforts are typically directed at the disputing of particular laws or group of laws while conceding the authority of the government responsible for them.
In contrast, political acts of nonviolent resistance can have revolutionary ends.
According to Lang, civil disobedience need not be nonviolent, although the extent and intensity of the violence is limited by the non-revolutionary intentions of the persons engaging in civil disobedience.
Lang argues the violent resistance by citizens being forcibly relocated to detentions, short of the use of lethal violence against representatives of the state, could plausibly count as civil disobedience but could not count as nonviolent resistance.
Major nonviolent resistance advocates include Mahatma Gandhi
, Henry David Thoreau
, Charles Stewart Parnell
, Te Whiti o Rongomai
, Tohu Kākahi
, Leo Tolstoy
, Alice Paul
, Martin Luther King Jr.
, Daniel Berrigan
, Philip Berrigan
, James Bevel
, Václav Havel
, Andrei Sakharov
, Lech Wałęsa
, Gene Sharp
, Nelson Mandela
, Jose Rizal
, and many others. From 1966 to 1999, nonviolent civic resistance played a critical role in fifty of sixty-seven transitions from authoritarianism
The Singing Revolution
in Baltic states
led to the Dissolution of the Soviet Union
in 1991. Recently, nonviolent resistance has led to the Rose Revolution
. Research shows that non-violent campaigns diffuse spatially. Information on non-violent resistance in one country could significantly affect non-violent activism in other countries.
Many movements which promote philosophies of nonviolence
have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political
goals. They employ nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare
s, leafletting, samizdat
, protest art
, protest music
and poetry, community education and consciousness raising
, tax resistance
, civil disobedience
s or sanctions
, legal/diplomatic wrestling, Underground Railroad
s, principled refusal of awards/honors, and general strike
s. Current nonviolent resistance movements include: the Jeans Revolution
in Belarus, the Black Lives Matter
movement in the United States initially, the fight of the Cuban dissidents
, and internationally the Extinction Rebellion
and School strike for climate
Nonviolent action differs from pacifism by potentially being proactive and interventionist. Although protest movements can maintain broader public legitimacy by refraining from violence, some segments of society may perceive protest movements as being more violent than they really are when they disagree with the social goals of the movement. A great deal of work has addressed the factors that lead to violent mobilization, but less attention has been paid to understanding why disputes become violent or nonviolent, comparing these two as strategic choices relative to conventional politics.
}) were a series of peaceful political protests against the authoritarian government of the German Democratic Republic
(GDR) of East Germany that took place every Monday evening.
|A crackdown of Azeri
protest demonstrations by the Red Army
, Azerbaijan SSR
. The demonstrators protested against ethnic violence
, demanded the ousting of communist officials and called for independence from the Soviet Union.
|1996–1997 protests in Serbia
| The protests started November 17, 1996 in Niš where thousands of opposition supporters gathered to protest against election fraud. Belgrade University students joined on November 19, 1996 and protests lasted even after February 11, 1997, when Slobodan Milošević
signed the "lex specialis", which accepted the opposition victory and instated local government in several cities, but without acknowledging any wrongdoing. The protests were strongest in the capital Belgrade, where they gathered up to 200,000 people, but spread over most cities and towns in Serbia.
| Otpor! (English: Resistance!) was a civic youth movement that existed as such from 1998 until 2003 in Serbia (then a federal unit within FR Yugoslavia), employing nonviolent struggle against the regime of Slobodan Milošević
as their course of action. In the course of two-year nonviolent struggle against Milosevic, Otpor spread across Serbia and attracted more than 70,000 supporters. They were credited for their role in the successful overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000.
|Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace
| This peace movement
, started by women praying and singing in a fish market, brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War
| A pro-Western peaceful change of power in Georgia in November 2003. The revolution was brought about by widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections and culminated in the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze, which marked the end of the Soviet era of leadership in the country. The event derives its name from the climactic moment, when demonstrators led by Mikheil Saakashvili stormed the Parliament session with red roses in hand.
|Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004
|Protesters opposing Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004
nonviolently resisted impending evacuations of Jewish settlements
in the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank
. Protesters blocked several traffic intersections, resulting in massive gridlock and delays throughout Israel. While Israeli police
had received advance notice of the action, opening traffic intersections proved extremely difficult. Eventually, over 400 demonstrators were arrested, including many juveniles. Further large demonstrations planned to commence when Israeli authorities, preparing for disengagement, cut off access to the Gaza Strip. During the confrontation, mass civil disobedience failed to emerge in Israel proper. However, some settlers and their supporters resisted evacuation non-violently.
|A series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election
which was marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation
and direct electoral fraud. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of acts of civil disobedience, sit-in
s, and general strike
s organized by the opposition movement.
|A chain of demonstrations in Lebanon (especially in the capital Beirut
) triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
on February 14, 2005.
|Remember about the Gas – Do not buy Russian goods!
|A campaign to boycott Russian goods as a reaction to political pressure of Russian Federation to Ukraine in the gas conflicts
| A chain of demonstrations against unemployment and government corruption in Tunisia began in December 2010. Protests were triggered by the self-immolation of vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi
and resulted in the overthrow of 24-year-ruling president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali
on January 14, 2011.
|A chain of protests, sit-ins, and strikes by millions of Egyptians starting January 25, 2011 eventually led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak
on February 11.
|Protests against the regime of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi
began on January 13, 2011. In late January, Jamal al-Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, "calld
on the Internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya" inspired by the Tunisian
revolutions. He was arrested on 1 February by plain-clothes police officers, and charged on 3 February with injuring someone with his car. Amnesty International stated that because al-Hajji had previously been imprisoned for his non-violent political opinions, the real reason for the present arrest appeared to be his call for demonstrations.
In early February, Gaddafi, on behalf of the Jamahiriya, met with political activists, journalists and media figures and warned them that they would be held responsible if they disturbed the peace or created chaos in Libya.
The plans to protest were inspired by the Tunisian
and Egyptian revolution
|Protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad
began on March 15, 2011. Security forces responded with a harsh crackdown, arresting thousands of dissidents and killing hundreds of protesters. Peaceful protests were largely crushed by the army or subsided as rebels and Islamist
fighters took up arms against the government, leading to a full-blown rebellion against the Assad regime.
|2011 Indian anti-corruption movement
|The movement gained momentum from 5 April 2011, when anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare
began a hunger strike
at the Jantar Mantar
in New Delhi
. The chief legislative aim of the movement was to alleviate corruption in the Indian government
through introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill
. Another aim, spearheaded by Ramdev
, was the repatriation of black money
from Swiss and other foreign banks.
|Bahraini uprising (2011–present)
|Inspired by the regional Arab Spring
, protests started in Bahrain on 14 February
. The government responded harshly, killing
four protesters camping in Pearl Roundabout
. Later, protesters were allowed to reoccupy the roundabout where they staged large marches
amounting to 150,000 participants.
On 14 March, Saudi
-led GCC forces
were requested by the government and entered the country, which the opposition called an "occupation". The following day, a state of emergency
was declared and protests paused after a brutal crackdown was launched against protesters, including doctors and bloggers. Nearly 3,000 people have been arrested, and at least five people died due to torture while in police custody.
Protests resumed after lifting emergency law on 1 June, and several large rallies were staged by the opposition parties, including a march on 9 March 2012 attended by over 100,000. Smaller-scale protests and clashes outside of the capital have continued to occur almost daily. More than 80 people had died since the start of the uprising.
|Saudi uprising (1979–present)1979 Qatif UprisingSaudi Arabian protestsShia Islam in Saudi Arabia#Discrimination in the workforceExecution of Nimr al-Nimr#Street protests
|Shiite community leaders in Qatif announced that they would publicly celebrate the Day of Ashura festival, despite the fact that celebration of Shiite festivals was banned. Despite government threats to disperse protests, on 25 November 1979 4,000 Shiite in Safwa took to the streets to publicly celebrate the Day of Ashura. Shia are prohibited from becoming teachers of religious subjects, which constitute about half of the courses in secondary education. Shia cannot become principals of schools. Some Shia have become university professors but often face harassment from students and faculty alike. Shia are disqualified as witnesses in court, as Saudi Sunni sources cite the Shi'a practise of Taqiyya wherein it is permissible to lie while one is in fear or at risk of significant persecution. Shia cannot serve as judges in ordinary court, and are banned from gaining admission to military academies,4
and from high-ranking government or security posts, including becoming pilots in Saudi Airlines. Amir Taheri quotes a Shi'ite businessman from Dhahran as saying "It is not normal that there are no Shi'ite army officers, ministers, governors, mayors and ambassadors in this kingdom. This form of religious apartheid is as intolerable as was apartheid based on race. In October 2011, during the 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests, al-Nimr said that young people protesting in response to the arrests of two al-Awamiyah septuagenarians were provoked by police firing at them with live ammunition. On 4 October, he called for calm, stating, "The audi
authorities depend on bullets ... and killing and imprisonment. We must depend on the roar of the word, on the words of justice".1
He explained further, "We do not accept he use of firearms
This is not our practice. We will lose it. It is not in our favour. This is our approach se of words
We welcome those who follow such n
attitude. Nonetheless, we cannot enforce our methodology on those who want to pursue different approaches nd
do not commit to ours. The weapon of the word is stronger than the power of bullets."
|Yo Soy 132
|2013 protests in Turkey
|Peaceful protests against reconstruction of Gezi Park at Istanbul's landmark Taksim Square
, turned into protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
. Over one million people nonviolently resisted police brutal force. Started in Istanbul, protests spread in 10 days to over 82 cities of Turkey. Significant violence from the police side was manifested by use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Many people were arrested, including haphazard arrests of people simply standing at the square.
|Do not buy Russian goods!
|A campaign to boycott Russian goods as a reaction to a series of Russian trade embargo
s against Ukraine and military invasion of Russia in Ukraine
|Sunflower Student Movement
|The activists protested the passing of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) by occupying the Legislative Yuan from March 18 to 10 April 2014.
|Student class boycotts and public demonstrations followed by spontaneous outbreak of civil disobedience and street occupation lasting 79 days.
|Mass Stay Aways which were backed by a rigorous social media campaign to bring social and political change in Zimbabwe.
|Tamil Nadu – India
|2017 pro-Jallikattu protests
|Peaceful demonstrations organized primarily by civilians, without any specific leaders, followed by outbreak of civil disobedience and people occupying Marina shore in Chennai and other prominent places across the state, demanding permanent solution for Jallikattu by passing permanent ordinance to support Jallikattu and to boycott foreign companies such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola as their water consumption is affecting local farmers.
|Impeachment of Park Geun-hye
|Peaceful demonstrations against President Park Geun-hye resulted the impeachment of the South Korean president.
|Catalonia - Spain
|Catalan independence referendum
|On October 1, 2017, an illegal referendum was held on the independence of Catalonia. 2,286,217 people participated. During the celebration the police forces acted hard against the voters.
|White WednesdaysGirl of Enghelab Street
|Peaceful demonstrations against compulsory hijab
and sex discrimination
|Tamil Nadu – India
|100-day peaceful demonstration against Sterlite Copper Corporation in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. Despite pollution control regulatory and environmental research institute reports along with apex court orders to shut down the industry, smelting operations were continued. Public demanded state to stop further expansion plans as a continuum of response against ill effects of pollution caused by the smelter.
|2018–19 Sudanese protestsKhartoum massacre
|Peaceful demonstrations and sit-in
s against the regime of Omar al-Bashir
and succeeding military junta
|2019 Algerian protests
|Peaceful demonstrations and sit-in
s against the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika
|Shaheen Bagh protests
|Ongoing peaceful protests led by Muslim ladies against CAA
among other things.
|2020–2021 Indian farmers' protest
|Ongoing peaceful protest against the three farm bills passed by parliament.
|2020 Thai Protests
|Ongoing peaceful protest to reform the Thai Monarchy.
|2021 Boğaziçi University protests
|Ongoing peaceful protests against the rector appointment without election
* ''A Force More Powerful
'', directed by Steve York
* ''How to Start a Revolution
'', directed by Ruaridh Arrow
Organizations and people
* List of peace activists
* List of anti-war organizations
* :Category:Nonviolence organizations
* :Category:Nonviolent resistance movements
* :Category:Anti-war activists by nationality
* :Category:Human rights activists by nationality
* :Category:Democracy activists by nationality
* Christian nonviolence
* Civilian-based defense
* Civil disobedience
* Civil resistance
* Direct action
* Economic secession
* Flower power
* Industrial action
* Internet resistance
* Islamic nonviolence
* Non-aggression principle
* Nonviolent revolution
* Passive obedience
* "Pen is mightier than the sword
* Sex strike
* Social defence
* Tax resistance
* Third Party Non-violent Intervention
Notes and references
From the 20th century
* Peter Ackerman
and Jack DuVall
, ''A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict''. New York: Palgrave, 2000. .
* Clayborne Carson
, ''In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s''. (SNCC is the acronym for Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981. .
* M K Gandhi
, ''Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha)''. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2001, orig. 1961. .
* Gene Sharp
, ''Making Europe Unconquerable: The Potential of Civilian-Based Deterrence and Defence
''. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis, 1985. /
* Gene Sharp, ''The Politics of Nonviolent Action
''. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973. .
From the 21st century
* Michael Bröning, ''The Politics of Change in Palestine. State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance''. London: Pluto Press, 2011, Part 5. .
* Judith Hand
, ''A Future Without War: The Strategy of a Warfare Transition''. San Diego, CA: Questpath Publishing, 2006. .
* Daniel Jakopovich, ''Revolutionary Peacemaking: Writings for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence''. Zagreb, Croatia: Democratic Thought, 2019, pp. 527.
* Michael King
, ''The Penguin History of New Zealand''. London: Penguin Books, 2003, pp 219–20, 222, 247–8, and 386. .
* Mark Kurlansky
, ''Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea''. New York: Modern Library / Random House, 2006. .
* David McReynolds
, A Philosophy of Nonviolence
'. Originally New York: A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 2001. No ISBN. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
* Adam Roberts
and Timothy Garton Ash
, eds., Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present
'. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2009. . Retrieved 22 December 2012.
* Adam Roberts
, Michael J. Willis, Rory McCarthy and Timothy Garton Ash
, eds., Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters
'. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2016. .
* Jonathan Schell
, ''The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
''. New York: Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt and Company, 2003. .
* Kurt Schock, ''Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies''. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. .
* Gene Sharp
, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation
'. East Boston, MA: The Albert Einstein Institution, 4th ed. 2010, orig. 2002. . Retrieved 22 December 2012.
* Mike Staresinic, Activism: People, Power, Plan
'. Pittsburgh, PA: Breakthrough, 2011. .
* Walter Wink
, ''Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way''. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003. .
* Srdja Popovic
, Andrej Milivojevic, Slobodan Djinovic, "Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points". Belgrade, Serbia: DMD, 2006
New York Public Library. Documentary directed by Ruaridh Arrow
by Rivera Sun.