In the past few days, the Nigerian youths from different areas of the country and beyond went on what seemed to be a united match stand against the numerous evil perpetrated by a unit of the Nigerian Police Force known as the Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS). I won’t lie, I felt seriously bad that I wasn’t physically part of the #EndSARS protest. I had a good excuse though; there was a wound on my left big toe that would have made it impossible to cover the long distance I was sure was going to be covered.

The truth is that protests go a long way most of the time in guaranteeing response to the current issue which initially seemed to be overlooked by the leaders. Sometimes, it’s also a form of support from unaffected communities towards the affected community to show that the issue is being noticed. Take the case of the 2020 George Floyd Incident in the USA which sparked both national and international outcry against racism in the nation and eventually the world at last. Another instance is the current #EndSARS movement in Nigeria which sparked both national and international outcry against police brutality in Nigeria, Of course these protests dragged listening ears from leaders of these nations to make amends and effect productive changes. That’s protests at work.

I came across a post on a blog that out lines the merits & demerits of peaceful & non-peaceful protests. So I’ll be outlining them here on this post.

Advantages of Peaceful protest

  • Positive solution: It reminds people that even when governed by an oppressive regime, the power still lies with the people.
  • More common: On average, peaceful protests attract about 11 times more public participation than armed protest.
  • Inspiration: Many activists link their methods to successors such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Figures like these serve as inspiration to resistance movements.
  • Success rate: From 1900 to 2015, nonviolent campaigns succeeded 51 percent of the time, But violent campaigns succeeded 27 percent of the time. 
  • low-risk factor: Because peaceful protest is peaceful, there is a lot lower risk factor that you will get hurt if you choise to help protest.
  • More organized: Peaceful protests are often more organized because the people participating have a calmer approach to change than their violent counterparts.

Disadvantages to Peaceful Protests

  • Declining success: Although peaceful protests have become more common, their success rates have declined drastically since 2000
  • Failure rate: 20%
  • Time: Because social and political change takes time.
  • Democracy is not guaranteed: Non-violent uprisings does not necessarily constitute democracy as the next step. Oftentimes after a revolution has taken place things are sun unorganized that the country falls into the hands of another oppressive leader. However, this could be argued for violent protest as well.
  • Has the potential to turn violent.

Advantages of Violent Protests

  • Some claim that violence is an instrument of politics.
  • Faster paced: Resolutions often end quicker with violence
  • Thomas Hobbes: described violence as “a rational means to achieve such political goals as territory, safety, and glory.”
  • Stand your Ground: Many use violent protests as a way to enforce safety, maintain territory and enforce stability.
  • Glory: Many see violence as a way of protest as a glorious way to take back one’s country.

Disadvantages of Violent Protests

  • Failure rate: 60%
  • Disorganized: Protest groups often lose control of their followers which can lead to destruction of property, fires and even death.
  • Destruction: 27% of Syria’s housing infrastructure has been destroyed.
  • Death: 250 protesters killed in Yemen, 3,500 killed in Syria, 100 in Bahrain.

So what’s your take? Would you rather let your voice be heard violently or peacefully? Do well to comment your answer below.

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About the author

I'm Dav-Oz, and  I'm the Chief Editor of The Dav-Oz Blog, a graphic designer and upcoming fashion designer.

I'm just your regular young Nigerian lad with dreams and hope for a better future.

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