Civil disobedience Boycott Franklin D. Roosevelt

Demonstration against the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during the Rio+20 conference in Brazil, June 2012
Farmer land rights protest in Jakarta, Indonesia
A working class political protest in Greece calling for the boycott of a bookshop after an employee was fired, allegedly for her political activism
Anti-nuclear Power Plant Rally on 19 September 2011 at Meiji Shrine complex in Tokyo. Sixty thousand people marched, chanting "Sayonara nuclear power" and waving banners to call on Japan's government to abandon nuclear power following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.[1]
Demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Spanish National Police in Barcelona during the 2017 Catalan general strike against brutal polices during referendum
Demonstration in front of the DPR/MPR Building in Jakarta during 2019 Indonesian protests and riots

A protest (also called a demonstration, remonstration or remonstrance) is a public expression of objection, disapproval or dissent towards an idea or action, typically a political one.[2][3] 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 enact desired changes themselves.[4] Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful nonviolent 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.[5]

Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted by governmental policy (such as the requirement of protest permits),[6] 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 in many countries, with police deploying armored vehicles and snipers against 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 cases, counter-protesters demonstrate their support for the person, policy, action, etc. that is the subject of the original protest. Protesters and counter-protesters can sometimes violently clash.

Historical notions

Protesters against big government fill the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall, 12 September 2009
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 or social revolution. Some examples of protests include:

Forms of protest

Vincent van Volkmer, protester, bee activist (possilbe Satoshi Nakamoto) with a "Free The Bee" transparent, in a be costume during the covid-19 protests in Berlin on 29 of august 2020, neair the Brandenburg Gate

A protest can take many forms.[7] The Dynamics of Collective Action project and the Global Nonviolent Action Database[8] are two of the leading data collection efforts attempting to capture protest events. The Dynamics of Collective Action project considers the repertoire of protest tactics (and their definitions) to include:[9]

The Global Nonviolent Action Database uses Gene Sharp's classification of 198 methods of nonviolent action. There is considerable overlap with the Dynamics of Collective Action repertoire, although the GNA repertoire includes more specific tactics. Together, the two projects help define tactics available to protesters and document instances of their use.


March next to the Benito Juárez Hemicycle, 27 August 1968, Mexico City

Abhishek Tiwari (8-B) and Lori Hall[10] have devised a typology of six broad activity categories of the protest activities described in the Dynamics of Collective Action project.

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.

Civil disobedience demonstrations

A protester photobombing a news reporter during a protest in New York City

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

As a residence


Black bloc members spray graffiti during an Iraq War Protest in Washington, D.C.[17]


Direct action

Against a government

The District of Columbia issues license plates protesting the "taxation without representation" that occurs due to its special status.

Against a military shipment

Against a planning application or development

By government employees

Protest inside the Wisconsin State Capitol

Job action

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

By tenants

By consumers


Civil disobedience to censorship

By Internet and social networking

Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park using the Internet to get their message out over social networking as events happen, September 2011

Blogging and social networking have become effective tools to register protest and grievances. Protests can express views or news, and use viral networking to reach out to thousands of people. With protests on the rise from the U.S. election season of 2016 going into 2017, protesters became aware that using their social media during a protest could make them an easier target for government surveillance.[19]

Literature, art and culture

Against religious or ideological institutions

Economic effects against companies

Protest march in Palmerston North, New Zealand
Protesters outside the Oireachtas in Dublin, Republic of Ireland

A study of 342 US protests covered by The New York Times newspaper from 1962 to 1990 showed that such public activities usually affected the company's publicly traded stock price. The most intriguing aspect of the study's findings revealed that the amount of media coverage the event received was of the most importance to this study. Stock prices fell an average of one-tenth of a percent for every paragraph printed about the event.[20]

See also


  1. ^ "Thousands march against nuclear power in Tokyo". USA Today. September 2011.
  2. ^ "Definition of PROTEST". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ "PROTEST (noun) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary". www.macmillandictionary.com. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  4. ^ St. John Barned-Smith, "How We Rage: This Is Not Your Parents' Protest," Current (Winter 2007): 17–25.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Adam (2009). Ash, Timothy Garton (ed.). Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford University Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6.
  6. ^ Daniel L. Schofield, S.J.D. (November 1994). "Controlling Public Protest: First Amendment Implications". in the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  7. ^ Kruszewski, Brent Baldwin, Jackie. "Why They Keep Fighting: Richmond Protesters Explain Their Resistance to Trump's America". Style Weekly. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  8. ^ Global Nonviolent Action Database
  9. ^ "Dynamics of Collective Action Project". Stanford University.
  10. ^ Ratliff, Thomas (2014). "Practicing the Art of Dissent: Toward a Typology of Protest Activity in the United States". Humanity & Science. 38 (3): 268–294. doi:10.1177/0160597614537796.
  11. ^ Mcgrath, Ben (13 November 2006). "Holy Rollers".
  12. ^ "Critical Mass London". Urban75. 2006.
  13. ^ "Pittsburgh Critical Mass". Archived from the original on 28 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Critical Mass: Over 260 Arrested in First Major Protest of RNC". Democracy Now!. 30 August 2004. Archived from the original on 14 November 2007.
  15. ^ Seaton, Matt (26 October 2005). "Critical crackdown". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  16. ^ Rosi-Kessel, Adam (24 August 2004). "[*BCM*] Hong Kong Critical Mass News".
  17. ^ https://www.flickr.com Image of black bloc members during an Iraq War protest in Washington, D.C., 21 March 2009
  18. ^ Parvaz, D. "Iran's Silent Protests". Al Jazeera.
  19. ^ Newman, Lily Hay. "How to Use Social Media at a Protest Without Big Brother Snooping". WIRED. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  20. ^ Welling, Angie (13 November 2007). "Coverage of protests hurts firms, Cornell-Y. study says". Deseret Morning News. p. E3.