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Why does peaceful protest always turn into a violent one?

In the past few days once again history repeated itself; a peaceful protest turned into a violent one. A huge crowd gathered on the roads of the United States, protesting against George Floyd killed in Minneapolis, under police custody.

Violent protest against police brutality

In the past week, protestors clashed with police. Peaceful demonstration and violent riots erupted as during the protest 2 more black men were reported to be dead Breonna Taylor and Ahmad Arbery. Resulting in 40 cities imposing curfews, with National Guard personnel activated in 24 states including Washington, DC.

One former officer is charged with three-degree murder and manslaughter. The protesters demand some more strict punishment for the officers involved in the murder. Now the protest is further taking a violent turn. protestors set police cars on flames, vandalized property, and looting shops. And still, the states fear of more destruction as the protestors railing on the streets.

Anti-government protest in Hong Kong

The anti-government protest in Hong Kong started in June 2019 against the plans that would allow the extradition to China’s mainland. The protesters feared that such plans would a judicial impediment and could endanger dissidents.

Even though the bill was taken back in September, the protest didn’t come to rest. Now the demonstrators demand a full democracy; as well as an inquiry into the police’s actions during the protest.

In the beginning, the protest was peaceful but with the passage of time; both the protesters as well as police’s actions turned increasingly violent. Now the clashes between police and protestors have become more violent than ever. With the police firing bullets, tear gasses; and protestors attacking police officials with petrol bombs.

How protest spread so quickly

Professor Clifford Stott an expert in Crowd Behaviour and Public Order Policing, Keele University says; that incidents like Mr. Floyad’s death often escalate the violent demonstration because; they show the broader experience shared by a large community. In this case, it was about the relationship between the black community and the police

He also said that violent confrontations usually arise in places where already lies structural inequalities. He has studied a similar case like this one, the England riots, 2011. That riot spread like a forest fire because; demonstrators from different cities were unified by the shared hatred against police.

Peaceful protests’ advantages

Peaceful protest or non-violent resistance has numerous advantages over violent protests. non-violent demonstration enables the demonstrators to hold the power and support of the people; even while governed by an oppressive regime.

A study on the worldwide protest revealed that a non-violent protest gains 11 times more public support; than armed protests.

Between 1900-2015, of all the non-violent protests 51% succeded; in convincing the authorities on their terms. But on the other hand success percentage of armed protests is 27%.

Peaceful protests have a very low-risk factor and are much more organized; than a violent one. Successful peaceful protestors like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King inspire non-violent demonstrators.

Peaceful protests’ disadvantages

Even though peaceful protests have become more common way; most demonstrators use them as a weapon against the government, but their success rate has declined since 2000.

The failure rate of these protests is 20%. Political and social modulation takes time therefore the results or desired changes are delayed. And there always stand a strong possibility of turning violent

Many a time when the demonstrations are over, things may again get back to being unorganized. And these circumstances may result in an oppressing leader yet again, but this has an equal probability of happening in the violent protests.

But there have been a number of successful non-violent protests in history. Like Madagascar 2002, Ukrain 2004, Nepal 2006, and many more.

Pros and cons of violent protest

Most claim a violent protest is an important tool in politics. Political parties sometimes genuinely inculcate violence in non-violent protests for their political benefits.

With the violent protest decisions are passed a bit quicker. Violence forces the government and authorities to make the desired amendment faster.

Thomas Hobbes illustrates violent protests as “a rational means to achieve such political goal as territory, safety, and glory.”

Violent protests are sometimes the necessity of the situation. It is in some places used to enforce stability, and safety and maintain territories.

But at the same time stats shows that the failure rate of such protests is 60%. Violent protest is always disorganized. It results in a huge loss of property and lives. Censor of people often results in chastening.

27% of Syria’s housing infrastructure has been destroyed in the never-resting protests. Apart from the infrastructural losses, life losses make these violent protests incredibly disastrous. In Yamen 250 protestors lost their lives, 3500 in Syria, and 100 in Bahrain.

Are peaceful protests better?

Without a second thought, non-violent protests are way better than armed protests. But in several conditions peaceful protests are just not enough; overthrowing an oppressive government even after having a lot of supporting people is tough.

Protesting against something wrong in society is our right as well as our responsibility. Protest is not something that has started recently; it is a crucial part of human history.

Protesting in a peaceful manner is important not only to maintain the dignity of the society but also to protect the people we are protesting for. The innocent public suffers a lot during these violent protests without committing any sin. By erupting violence in protests, protestors often deviate from the core purpose of the protest.

We should protest for our and everybody’s rights until we don’t get what we demand but in a dignified and non-violent manner. Violence just makes things worse.