A protest (also called a remonstrance, remonstration or demonstration) is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations. Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful campaign to achieve a particular objective, and involve the use of pressure as well as persuasion, they go beyond mere protest and may be better described as cases of civil resistance or nonviolent resistance. Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted by governmental policy (such as the requirement of protest permits), economic circumstances, religious orthodoxy, social structures, or media monopoly. One state reaction to protests is the use of riot police. Observers have noted an increased militarization of protest policing, with police deploying armored vehicles and snipers against the protesters. When such restrictions occur, protests may assume the form of open civil disobedience, more subtle forms of resistance against the restrictions, or may spill over into other areas such as culture and emigration. A protest itself may at times be the subject of a counter-protest. In such a case, counter-protesters demonstrate their support for the person, policy, action, etc. that is the subject of the original protest. In some cases, these protesters can violently clash.
1 Historical notions 2 Forms 3 Typology
3.1 Written demonstration
4 Economic effects against companies 5 See also 6 References
Protesters against big government fill the West Lawn of the U.S.
Capitol and the
An artist's depiction of a prototypical angry mob protesting with the threat of violence
Unaddressed protests may grow and widen into civil resistance, dissent, activism, riots, insurgency, revolts, and political and/or social revolution. Some examples of protests include:
See also: Repertoire of contention
A protest can take many forms. The Dynamics of Collective Action
project and the Global
Rally or demonstration: Demonstration, rally, etc. without reference to marching or walking in a picket line or standing in a vigil. Reference to speeches, speakers, singing, preaching, often verified by indication of sound equipment of PA and sometimes by a platform or stage. Ordinarily will include worship services, speeches, briefings. March: Reference to moving from one location to another; to be distinguished from rotating or walking in a circle with picket signs which by definition, constitutes a picket. Vigil: These are almost always designated as such, although sometimes "silent witness," and "meditation" are code words; also see candlelight vigil; hunger/fasting vigil; If you find no designations re: vigils, meditations, silent witness, etc., but also no reference to sound systems or to marches, it may well be a vigil. Most vigils have banners, placards, or leaflets so that people passing by, despite silence from participants, can ascertain for what the vigil stands. Picket: The modal activity is picketing; there may be references to picket line, to informational picketing; holding signs; "carrying signs and walking around in a circle"). Holding signs or placards or banners is not the defining criteria; rather, it is holding or carrying those items and walking a circular route, a phrase sometimes surprisingly found in the permit application. Civil disobedience: Explicit protest that involves crossing barricade, sit-in of blacks where prohibited, use of "colored" bathrooms, voter registration drives, crossing barricades, tying up phone lines. Ceremony: These celebrate or protest status transitions ranging from birth, death dates of individuals, organizations or nations, seasons, to re-enlistment or commissioning of military personnel, to the anniversaries of same. These are sometimes referenced by presenting flowers or wreaths commemorating or dedicating or celebrating status transitions or its anniversary; e.g., annual Merchant Marine memorial service; celebrate Chanukah, Easter, birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.); Dramaturgical demonstration Motorcade: (Electoral campaign and other issues) Information distribution: tabling/ petition gathering, lobbying, letter-writing campaign, teach-ins. Symbolic display: e.g. Menorah, Creche Scene, graffiti, cross burnings, signs, standing displays Attack by instigators Ethnic group victim of physical attack, by collective group (not-one-on-one assault, crime, rape). Boundary motivating attack is "other group's identity," as in gay-bashing, lynching. Can also include verbal attack and/or threats, too. Riot, melee, mob violence: Large-scale (50+), use of violence by instigators against persons, property, police, or buildings separately or in combination, lasting several hours. Strike, slow down and sick-ins employee work protest of any kind: Regular air strike through failure of negotiations, or wildcat air strike. (Make note if a wildcat strike.) Boycott: Organized refusal to buy or use a product or service, rent strikes. Press conference: If specifically named as such in report, and must be the predominant activity form. Could involve disclosure of information to "educate the public" or influence various decision-makers. Organization formation announcement or meeting announcement: meeting or press conference to announce the formation of a new organization. Conflict, attack or clash, no instigator: This includes any boundary conflict in which no instigator can be identified, i.e. black/white conflicts, abortion/anti-abortion conflicts. Lawsuit: legal maneuver by social movement organization or group
March next to the Benito Juárez Hemicycle; August 27, 1968. Mexico City.
Thomas Ratliff and Lori Hall have devised a typology of six broad activity categories of the protest activities described in the Dynamics of Collective Action project.
Literal, symbolic, aesthetic and sensory - Artistic, dramaturgical,
and symbolic displays (street theater, dancing, etc.). Use of images,
objects, graphic arts, musical performances, or vocal/auditory
exhibitions (speechmaking, chanting, etc.). Tactile exchanges of
information (petitions, leaflets, etc.) and the destruction of objects
of symbolic and/or political value. Highly visible and most diverse
category of activity; impacts on society (police response, media
focus, impact on potential allies, etc.) often are underestimated.
Solemnity and the sacred - Vigils, prayer, rallies in format of
religious service, candlelighting, cross carrying, etc., all directly
related to Durkheimian ‘‘sacred’’ or some form of religious or
spiritual practice, belief, or ideology. Events where sacred activity
is the primary focus are rarely responded to by police with force or
presence. Solemnity usually provides a distinct quietness or
stillness, changing the energy, description, and interpretation of
Institutional and conventional - Institutionalized activity or
activity highly dependent on formal political processes and social
institutions (press conferences, lawsuits, lobbying, etc.). Often
conflated with non-confrontational and nonviolent activities in
research as the ‘‘other’’ or reference category. More
‘‘acceptable’’ because it operates, to some degree, within the
system. Historically contentious issue in regard to the practice of
protest due to this integration within the system.
Movement in space - Marches or parades (processional activities) from
one spatio-temporal location to another, with beginning or ending
places sometimes chosen for symbolic reasons. Picket lines often used
in labor strikes but can be used by nonlabor actors but the key
differences between picket and processionals are the distance of
movement. Events that take the form of a procession are logistically
much more difficult to police (even if it is for the safety of
protesters). Marches are some of the largest events in this period.
Some forms of direct action listed in this article are also public demonstrations or rallies.
Written demonstration Written evidence of political or economic power, or democratic justification may also be a way of protesting.
Petitions Letters (to show political power by the volume of letters): For example, some letter writing campaigns especially with signed form letter
As a residence
Peace camp Formation of a tent city Camp for Climate Action
Silent Protests - Protests/Parades in which participants are
nonviolent and usually silent, in attempt to avoid violent
confrontation with Military or
Against a government
District of Columbia
Tax resistance Conscientious objector Flag desecration
Against a military shipment
Port Militarization Resistance - protests which attempt to prevent military cargo shipments.
By government employees
Bully pulpit Judicial activism
Job action Main article: Industrial action
Strike action Walkout Work-to-rule
In sports During a sporting event, under certain circumstances, one side may choose to play a game "under protest", usually when they feel the rules are not being correctly applied. The event continues as normal, and the events causing the protest are reviewed after the fact. If the protest is held to be valid, then the results of the event are changed. Each sport has different rules for protests. By management
Boycott Consumer Court
Informative letters, letter writing campaigns, letters to the editor Teach-in Zine Soapboxing
Blogging and social networking have become effective tools to register protest and grievances. Protests can express views, news and use viral networking to reach out to thousands of people. With protests on the rise from the election season of 2016 going into 2017, protestors became aware that using their social media during protest could make them an easier target for government surveillance. Literature, art and culture
Against religious or ideological institutions
Economic effects against companies
Protesters outside the
A study of 342 US protests covered by
The New York Times
Activist Wisdom, a book about protesters in Australia
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
List of uprisings led by women
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Protests.
Look up protest in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
^ "Thousands march against nuclear power in Tokyo". USA Today.
^ St. John Barned-Smith, "How We Rage: This Is Not Your Parents'
Protest," Current (Winter 2007): 17-25.
^ Adam Roberts, Introduction, in Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash
(eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of
Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford University
Press, 2009, pp. 2-3, where a more comprehensive definition of "civil
resistance" may be found.
^ Daniel L. Schofield, S.J.D. (November 1994). "Controlling Public
Protest: First Amendment Implications". in the FBI's Law Enforcement
Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
^ Kruszewski, Brent Baldwin, Jackie. "Why They Keep Fighting: Richmond
Protesters Explain Their Resistance to Trump's America". Style Weekly.
Retrieved 29 March 2017.
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