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The Right to Protest



PROTEST: A MATTER OF HUMAN RIGHTS. Public mobilisations, social protest and human rights are intertwined. Firstly because people generally take to the streets to reject state violence and protest against violations of their rights: to land, to food, to work, to housing, to religious freedom, and so on.

Secondly, the act of protest itself entails exercising rights, such as to freedom of expression and the rights of assembly, petition and dissent. Democracies are enriched by protests because of their expressive nature, but also their deliberative and confrontational tone. More about the project→ –– Español→

A partnership with CELS and INCLO, with support from the ACLU:

What are the meanings behind the worldwide rise in protest?

RICHARD YOUNGS
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Large-scale protests have become more numerous and geographically widespread in recent years. While much debate among international relations experts has focused on the shift in power away from the West to rising economies, equally significant in the nascent era of global politics is the rise of citizen mobilisation.

Previous periods have, of course, witnessed bouts of protest. Today’s wave of protests is relatively unique, however, in effecting all regions of the world, with similar patterns of revolt spanning diverse national and cultural contexts. Read on...

 

Recent content

Surveillance of protest: why does Canada spy on its own indigenous communities?

LEX GILL AND CARA ZWIBEL
Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Indigenous social movements: journalism versus activism in times of resistance

JENNI MONET
Tribal member of the Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico

Threats to the right to protest in Argentina

GASTÓN CHILLIER
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Protests in Buenos Aires against pension and welfare reforms were met with a violent police response – reflecting a government rhetoric that seeks to criminalise protesters.

Rubber ball grenades and Robocops

LESLEY J. WOOD
York University, Toronto

What is the logic behind increasingly militarised protest policing? What are the costs of this strategy? And in what ways is resistance to aggressive policing growing?

Gezi Park: visual communication between protesters

OLU JENZEN AND AIDAN MCGARRY
University of Brighton

The act of protest

VIDEO: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: "We are no longer alone"

ANNA NORMAN
openDemocracy

Vera Jarach was born into a Jewish-Italian family in Milan, but her family fled Argentina in 1939, when Vera was 10, to escape fascism in Europe. She is one of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a protest movement in Argentina that arose in response to the civic-military dictatorship on 1976-1983.

Vera’s daughter, Franca Jarach, was one of the approximately 30,000 Argentines who were ‘disappeared’ by the dictatorship. Read on...

How should states respond to social protest?

How should states manage assemblies in the new age of protest?

CHRISTOF HEYNS
Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria

With the increase in worldwide protest over the past decade, domestic and international standards for state protection and management of demonstrations needs to be pursued.

"Less-lethal" weapons in Jerusalem: "The purpose of these bullets isn’t corresponding to the reality"

AN INTERVIEW WITH TALI MAYER
An Israeli photojournalist working in East Jerusalem

A photo project with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, documenting "non-involved" Palestinians injured by sponge-tipped crowd-control bullets.

Protest in the Black Lives Matter movement: an interview with activist and lawyer Justin Hansford

AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN HANSFORD
Professor of Law at Howard University, Washington DC

In the wake of new demonstrations in St Louis, we discuss the integral role protest has played in BLM; how the movement has brought forth a cultural shift, and how protest dynamics have had to change in the Trump era.

Tear gas and protest: 'there’s a vested interest in escalating force'

ANNA NORMAN and ANNA FEIGENBAUM
Principal Academic in Digital Storytelling, Bournemouth University

Why we should trace the money when it comes to understanding the increase in crowd-control weapons around the world.

VIDEO: Crowd-control weapons: "These weapons should not be interpreted as less than lethal""

ANNA NORMAN and HOMER VENTERS
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

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VIDEO: How is private security in Hungary threatening the right to protest?

INCLO AND HCLU
International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

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The importance of protest

VIDEO: Why is protest fundamental for democracy?

ANNA NORMAN
openDemocracy

Why is protest a fundamental pillar of any democracy? We posed this question to delegates – human rights academics, lawyers, journalists and activists – attending an international conference on protest in Buenos Aires in May 2017, organised by CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales).

Interviewees include representatives from Physicians for Human Rights, Ni Una Menos, Article 19, Centro Prodh Mexico, CODEHUPY in Paraguay, and South Africa’s Legal Resources Centre. Read on...

"Where is Santiago Maldonado?": protesters demand answers

CELS TEAM
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Argentina

Occupy and resist! School occupations in Brazil

PAULA ALEGRIA AND MARCIELLY MORESCO
Universities of São Paulo and Paraná

"The right to free speech should apply with full force on the internet"

ANNA NORMAN and MATT CAGLE
ACLU of Northern California

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: "We were born on the march"

MARCELA PERELMAN and VERONICA TORRAS
CELS and Memoria Abierta, Argentina

A look at the 'Madres' protest movement in Argentina, which culminated in a massive demonstration in May 2017, against impunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Resistance and revolt for lives that matter: the black experience

TULIO CUSTÓDIO
Pitacodemia


Colombia Peace Agreement: participation and protest

HOBETH MARTÍNEZ AND LUIS FELIPE CRUZ
Dejusticia


Protest in Kenya: repressive and brutal policing has become normalised

MARTIN MAVENJINA
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

Australia: how Bob Brown challenged Tasmania's anti-protest laws

HANNAH RYAN AND EMILY HOWIE
Human Rights Law Centre, Sydney


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