Created By: JusticeReaper on May 18, 2012 Last Edited By: JusticeReaper on January 8, 2014
Nuked

Public Protest

Protesters showcase their anger or disagreement on a particular issue.

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Trope
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.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • 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.

Film - Live Action
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Live Action TV
  • 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.

Tabletop RPG

Video Games
  • In The Sims 3, sims can gather and protest, but they mostly hold up placards of llamas (animal cruelty, maybe?).

Web Animation
  • 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.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • 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.

Real Life
  • 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • May 18, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I suggest getting Westboro off the page, IMMEDIATELY.
  • May 18, 2012
    nielas
    • 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.
  • May 18, 2012
    Clevomon
    In The Sims 3, sims can gather and protest, but they mostly hold up placards of llamas (animal cruelty, maybe?).
  • May 19, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
  • May 20, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Jerry Pournelle's Co Dominium 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.
  • May 20, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    Needs a better name, trope names aren't supposed to sound like lines.
  • May 20, 2012
    JusticeReaper
    @ The Even Prime: What would you suggest? I was looking for something catchy, not dull and dry.

    EDIT: Found a suitable alternate name.
  • May 24, 2012
    NightNymph
    • 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!"
  • May 24, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    So isn't this just... protesting? I don't see how it's a trope, personally.
  • May 24, 2012
    JusticeReaper
    @ wanderlustwarrior: Goes to show you haven't read the description or the trope links in the description.
  • November 22, 2013
    DracMonster
    Protesting is in and of itself a trope - it doesn't need anything else to warrant a page. If it's in a story, it's a significant part of the narrative.

    That said, Public Protest might communicate more clearly what this is about.
  • November 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons:
    • Homer goes on a hunger strike unitl the Springfield Isotopes (minor leage baseball team) admit they're planning to move to Albequerque [sp] 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.
  • November 22, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Law Of Conservation Of Detail dictates that an element will be shown if it's relevant. which means Purposeful Protest is redundant. seconding Public Protest.
  • November 23, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I'm suggesting Civil Unrest Tropes and Politics Tropes as indexes for this trope.
  • November 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Web Original:
  • November 25, 2013
    DAN004
    • 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.
  • November 26, 2013
    arbiter099
    expect lots of Waving Signs Around
  • November 26, 2013
    catname
    In the Parks And Recreation episode Smallest Park, Leslie organises a protest to delay a project so she can keep working with Ben.
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