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A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, 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.[1] 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.[2]

Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted[3] by governmental policy, economic circumstances, religious orthodoxy, social structures, or media monopoly. 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.

Forms of protestEdit

Template:Seealso Commonly recognized forms of protest include:

Public demonstration or political rallyEdit

File:Occupy the Dáil - We are the 99 per cent.jpg

Some forms of direct action listed in this article are also public demonstrations or rallies.

  • Protest march, a historically and geographically common form of nonviolent action by groups of people.
  • Picketing, a form of protest in which people congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in ("crossing the picket line"), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause.
  • Street protesters, characteristically, work alone, gravitating towards areas of high foot traffic, and employing handmade placards such as sandwich boards or picket signs in order to maximize exposure and interaction with the public.
  • Lockdowns and lock-ons are a way to stop movement of an object, like a structure or tree and to thwart movement of actual protesters from the location. Users employ various chains, locks and even the sleeping dragon for impairment of those trying to remove them with a matrix of composted materials.
  • Die-ins are a form of protest where participants simulate being dead (with varying degrees of realism). In the simplest form of a die-in, protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners. Much of the effectiveness depends on the posture of the protesters, for when not properly executed, the protest might look more like a "sleep-in". For added realism, simulated wounds are sometimes painted on the bodies, or (usually "bloody") bandages are used.
  • Protest song is a song which protests perceived problems in society. Every major movement in Western history has been accompanied by its own collection of protest songs, from slave emancipation to women's suffrage, the labor movement, civil rights, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the environmental movement. Over time, the songs have come to protest more abstract, moral issues, such as injustice, racial discrimination, the morality of war in general (as opposed to purely protesting individual wars), globalization, inflation, social inequalities, and incarceration.
  • Radical cheerleading. The idea is to ironically reappropriate the aesthetics of cheerleading, for example by changing the chants to promote feminism and left-wing causes. Many radical cheerleaders (some of whom are male, transgender or non-gender identified) are in appearance far from the stereotypical image of a cheerleader.
  • Critical Mass bike rides have been perceived as protest activities. A 2006 New Yorker magazine article described Critical Mass' activity in New York City as "monthly political-protest rides", and characterized Critical Mass as a part of a social movement;[4] and the UK e-zine Urban75, which advertises as well as publishes photographs of the Critical Mass event in London, describes this as "the monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets of London."[5] However, Critical Mass participants have insisted that these events should be viewed as "celebrations" and spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized demonstrations.[6][7] This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police.[8][9]
  • Toyi-toyi is a Southern African dance originally from Zimbabwe that became famous for its use in political protests in the apartheid-era South Africa, see Protest in South Africa.

Written demonstrationEdit

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

Civil disobedience demonstrationsEdit

Any protest could be civil disobedience if a “ruling authority” says so, but the following are usually civil disobedience demonstrations:

Civil disobedience to censorshipEdit

As a residenceEdit

DestructiveEdit

Direct actionEdit

Protesting a governmentEdit

Protesting a military shipmentEdit

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Job actionEdit

By managementEdit

By tenantsEdit

By consumersEdit

InformationEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. St. John Barned-Smith, "How We Rage: This Is Not Your Parents' Protest," Current (Winter 2007): 17-25.
  2. 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.
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  10. Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6.[1]
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