Protesting is defined as a demonstration of disapproval or objection to something. It is our right to be able to protest peacefully and be able to show our opinions through individual or mass demonstrations. Countries where you can not protest usually depict the same story of people in power doing what ever they want in their agenda against the peoples wishes. It is proven that protest can sway and change the publics opinion on certain ideologies. But protest can also be intentionally misrepresented by the media or opposition to satisfy a bias, and in return change a protest’s meaning. The power to protest shows the health of democracy because it gives the people a voice and can shift or change the public opinion without having a platform. Countries where you can not protest usually depict the same story of people in power doing what ever they want in their agenda against the peoples wishes. In 2015, the Spanish government outlawed the freedom of assembly.
The freedom of assembly is the persons right or ability to join forces to express or defend their idea. This led to a law being passed that allowed the police to hand out fines up to $650, 000 to people who protest around transport hubs such as train stations, airports and ferry slips. This did not technically banned protest, but it is obvious that it stops almost all protest due to fear. In October of 2015, Turkey passed a law that allowed the police to search homes of protestors without warrants or grounds for suspicion. People can face years of imprisonment if they hide their faces while protesting or shouting certain words or slogans. (Countries, 2015) These are just two examples of when a government has decided to stop protesting that lead to unfair and unjust laws. This shows democracy regressing because at its core, democracy is a government of the people by the people and for the people. When a democratic government takes away the rights of people, are we in a democratic state? The legitimacy of the government is being questioned and it shows through the actions of its people, through riots and violent protest. This shows how unhealthy a democratic government can be when the power to protest is revoked. It is proven that protest can sway and change the publics opinion on certain ideologies. Secondly, in a healthy democracy there should always be the ability to express two sides of an argument or an idea. Knowing the pros and the cons on a subject is beneficial and critical to make a sound decision. An example of this ability is when Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., changed the percentage of people about bringing more equal rights to white and black Americans from 49 percent to 59 percent in one year. This poll was done by the Pew Research Centre.
This shows and proves that protest can change the publics opinion on a topic that they already believed that had an answer to. Without protest we can not express our opinions without having a platform. Martin Luther King was apart of countless protests that have changed the laws, showed that protesting can change the opinion of the public and changing America into what it is known as of today, a melting pot. But protest can also be intentionally misrepresented by the media or opposition to satisfy a bias, and in return change a protest’s meaning.
Lastly there is a counter-argument that can be discussed about when talking about protests and that is its ability to be misrepresented by the media or opposition to satisfy a bias and in return change a protest’s meaning. In recent times there are examples of the Trump’s camp trying to undermine the legitimacy of the protest by saying the protest are set up by wealthy individuals from the Democratic Party. When the President of the United States is tweeting these views, don’t we all have to think about and wonder if he is telling us the truth? An experiment was conducted and exposed 266 people to two different news stories about the same protest. The results yielded from the experiments showed that little changes in the news stories led to significant differences in the perceptions of protestors and the police.