Has someone in a position of high power and authority done something you don't like? Has a bill been passed, or is about to be passed, that you don't agree with? Do you believe someone has been wrongfully accused of a crime, or alternatively, that a guilty party is about to get away scot-free?
Then here's the solution—gather a crowd of like-minded supporters and go out on the street-side to vent your frustration! Optionally, your protesters may bear placards with messages emphasizing the point to be made
(though it's not a hard-and-fast rule that placards must be present in said protest).
Of course, in fiction, this rarely
ever works; all it does is showcase that there's a faction of society that doesn't agree with what has occurred or is about to occur, but it doesn't mean their view will be taken into account just because they're protesting right outside the target's front door.
Different from, and a lot of times more peaceful than the Witch Hunt
or the Powder Keg Crowd
, in that the protesters have verifiable and often tangible reason to go out and protest, they have a structured goal in mind, and usually
they won't be armed with Torches and Pitchforks
. But be careful, as one wrong move can cause them to disintegrate into violence
, even if the protest was initially peaceful and organized.
This is very much Truth in Television
, as your nightly news broadcast will testify.
NOTE: As Real Life
examples would be too much for one page to comfortably fill, please limit all such examples to protests that either have historical significance or that have made major headlines.
Film - Live Action
- One Batman comic story—set during the Zero Hour! series where Waverider is trying to figure out which superhero will eventually become Monarch—has Batman in jail for supposedly murdering several members of his Rogues Gallery. At one point there is a group of protesters outside the prison, carrying placards with messages such as "Gotham needs him" and "Let him go." Turns out he was framed by the Joker.
- In the third Revenge of the Nerds movie, when Louis is wrongly accused of embezzlement and brought to court, a crowd gathers outside the courthouse with placards chanting "Louis didn't do it!" Gradually, however, the number of protesters dwindles to one man who maintains his stance.
Live Action TV
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium novel Go Tell the Spartans. The rebel forces organize a demonstration against the government. Their true intent is to provoke the government forces into attacking the demonstrators to cause the government to lose support from the population.
- In an episode of Flashpoint a police officer is charged with the killing of a teenager but it looks like he will be acquitted. The SRU is called in to protect the accused when it looks like the protesters outside the courthouse might turn violent over the news.
- In The Sims 3, sims can gather and protest, but they mostly hold up placards of llamas (animal cruelty, maybe?).
- In RWBY, in the first episode, there's an in-story news about a rally of protesting Faunus (a race of Little Bit Beastly humans) about the Fantastic Racism that they received from normal humans. They were assaulted by the White Fang, a Faunus group which is thought to fight for Faunus liberation.
- Parodied several times in South Park in that the crowd usually believes vehemently in whatever it is they are protesting, they just generally go about it all wrong and/or change their minds on a whim. Also instead of prolonged organized protest, the crowd often dissolves into just chanting "Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!"
- Happens on a number of episodes of The Simpsons:
- Homer goes on a hunger strike until the Springfield Isotopes (the local minor league baseball team) admit they're planning to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Marge organizes a protest against violent cartoons, with a small but growing group of picketers.
- Homer leads the employees of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant in a strike until they get back the dental plan.
- The Million-Man March, a civil-rights movement which took place in 1995.
- The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was sparked by black activist Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man according to the then-present "Jim Crow" laws and lasted between 1955 and 1956.
- Happens with great frequency in Jamaica, most usually over road conditions, extra-judicial police killings, absence of political representation by Members of Parliament, or absence of garbage collection by the relevant agencies (the usual cry at these demonstrations, "We want justice," was in fact the original suggested name for the trope). Unfortunately, more often than not the demonstrators in these events degenerate into tire-burning mobs.
- Another Jamaican example, this one from history: The 1865 Morant Bay rebellion started when black people protested the arrest of a man who had trespassed on an abandoned plantation. One protest group marched on Morant Bay's courthouse, but they were met upon by a volunteer militia group that panicked and shot seven of the protesters before retreating. Things went speedily downhill from there.