Fascinating Protest Moments Throughout History

The right of a country’s citizens to protest for their rights is a healthy part of any democracy. But clearly, protests and riots can very quickly spin out of control, resulting in moments that could be quite chaotic, heartbreaking, and sometimes downright ridiculous or beyond tragic. Here are a few of the most fascinating protest moments throughout history.


Born To Run


Getty Images/Boston Globe


1967 – Katherine Switzer becomes the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. As captured in the photo, one organizer realized she was a woman and tried to tackle her. Clearly some people are just born to run, and will not stop for anyone.



Make Love Not War


Getty Images/Gamma-Keystone/Keystone-France


December, 1969 – John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono pose on the steps of the Apple building in London, holding up an anti-Vietnam war sign. They distributed these posters to the world’s major cities, and were key figures in the movement.


Rain Or Shine




August, 2019 – Clearly these protesters aren’t afraid of a little rain. The Hong Kong protests were triggered by the government’s introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill, which would have allowed the extradition of criminal fugitives who are wanted in countries that Hong Kong doesn’t have any such agreement with, like mainland China.



The Tiananmen Square Protests


Getty Images/Getty Images News/Ezra Acayan


Beijing, 1989 – Also known as the June Fourth Incident, these were student-demonstrations in the Chinese capital, and were part of a popular national movement protesting issues such as inflation, corruption, and freedom of speech, among others. On June 4th, he government declared martial law, forcibly suppressing the protests. The estimate of civilian deaths ranges from 180 to 10,454.


Flower Power


Getty Images/The Washington Post


Arlington, VA – October 21, 1967 – In this iconic photo, George Harris sticks carnations in the gun barrels of members of the police force during an antiwar demonstration at the



Show Them The Money


Getty Images/ AFP/ ARUN SANKAR


Mumbai, India – August 15, 2010 – a group of Indian Devadasi women protest semi-nude while shouting anti-government slogans. They were demanding 2000 Indian Rupees (around 43 USD) per month as a life pension after retirement.


A Little Tied Up


Getty Images/Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone


London, 1933 – A group of women takes part in a May Day demonstration. May 1st is actually a traditional spring holiday in many cultures, but it was also chosen as the date for International Worker’s Day by socialist and communist groups in the late 1800s.



Switching Sides


Getty Images/AFP/Gary Bernard


Capetown, May 11, 1995 – South African police constable Denver Sas smokes a water pipe filled with marijuana (also known as a “hubbly bubbly”)  during a protest march to legalize the drug. He was subsequently arrested.


They’re Not Lovin It


Getty Images/AFP/Pascal Guyot


Lyon, 25 November 1992 – A group of French farmers from the Rhone-Alpes region set up a restaurant called “McMarcel” in the city center (a spoof on the US chain “McDonald’s) where they distributed regional food products in protest of the GATT agreement, which heavily promoted international trade.



You Can’t Sit With Us


Getty Images/Gamma-Keystone/Keystone-France


South Africa, September 2, 1952 – a woman sits in a wagon reserved for white people only, in protest against apartheid. In 1948, Prime Minister Daniel Francois Malan came to power, and his national party implemented racial segregation laws.



Girl Power


Getty Images/ FilmMagic/ Venturelli


Kiev – June 23, 2010 – women and members of the radical feminist movement FEMEN block entrance to the building of Ukranian Secret Services (SBU) and bear “SBU-bitches” on their bras and underwear in protest against lawlessness in the country.



Slutwalk In Glasgow


Getty Images/News/Jeff J Mitchell


Glasgow, UK – June 4, 2011 – a female demonstrator marches in Glasgow’s first-ever slutwalk, an international movement that calls for an end to rape culture and victim-blaming, otherwise known as “slut-shaming”.