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Nonviolent resistance (or nonviolent action) is the practice of achieving goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, and other methods, without using violence. It is largely but wrongly taken as synonymous with civil resistance. Each of these terms ("nonviolent resistance" and "civil resistance") has its distinct merits and also quite different connotations and commitments, which are briefly explored in the entry on civil resistance. For instance you can operate non-violence on quite all peaceful fronts of refusals, but on some occasions without denying concurrently the government in activity.
The modern form of non-violent resistance was popularised and proven to be effective by the Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi in his efforts to gain independence from the British.
Major nonviolent resistance advocates include Maori (indigenous New Zealand) leaders Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, Jr, James Bevel, Václav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, and Lech Wałęsa. There are hundreds of books and papers on the subject — see Further reading below.
From 1966 to 1999 nonviolent civic resistance has played a critical role in 50 of 67 transitions from authoritarianism. Recently, nonviolent resistance has led to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Current nonviolent resistance includes the Jeans Revolution in Belarus, the "Jasmine" Revolution in Tunisia, and the fight of the Cuban dissidents. Many movements which promote philosophies of nonviolence or pacifism have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political goals. They employ nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare, picketing, vigils, leafletting, samizdat, magnitizdat, satyagraha, protest art, protest music and poetry, community education and consciousness raising, lobbying, tax resistance, civil disobedience, boycotts or sanctions, legal/diplomatic wrestling, underground railroads, principled refusal of awards/honours, and general strikes. Nonviolent action differs from pacifism by potentially being proactive and interventionist.
|BC 470–391||China||Mohism||The Mohist philosophical school disapproved of war. However, since they lived in a time of warring polities, they cultivated the science of fortification.|
|around AD 26–36||Judea||Pontius Pilate||Jews demonstrated in Caesarea to try to convince Pontius Pilate not to set up Roman standards, with images of the Roman emperor and the eagle of Jupiter, in Jerusalem (both images were considered idolatrous by religious Jews). Pilate surrounded the Jewish protesters with soldiers and threatened them with death, to which they replied that they were willing to die rather than see the laws of the Torah violated.|
|Before 1500–1835||Chatham Islands, New Zealand||Moriori||The Moriori were a branch of the New Zealand Māori that colonized the Chatham Islands and eventually became hunter-gatherers. Their lack of resources and small population made conventional war unsustainable, so it became customary to resolve disputes nonviolently or ritually. Due to this tradition of nonviolence, the entire population of 2000 people was enslaved, killed or cannibalized when 900 Māori invaded the island in 1835.|||
|1756-1920||USA||Women's Suffrage in the United States|
|1819||England||Peterloo massacre||Famine and chronic unemployment, coupled with the lack of suffrage in northern England, led to a peaceful demonstration of 60,000–80,000 persons, including women and children. The demonstration was organized and rehearsed, with a "prohibition of all weapons of offence or defence" and exhortations to come "armed with no other weapon but that of a self-approving conscience". Cavalry charged into the crowd, with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people were killed and 400–700 were injured. Newspapers expressed horror, and Percy Shelley glorified nonviolent resistance in the poem The Masque of Anarchy. However, the British government cracked down on reform, with the passing of what became known as the Six Acts.|
|1834–38||Trinidad||End of Slavery in Trinidad||The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, then the colonial power in Trinidad, first announced in 1833 the impending total liberation of slaves by 1840. In 1834 at an address by the Governor at Government House about the new laws, an unarmed group of mainly elderly people of African descent began chanting: Pas de six ans. Point de six ans ("Not six years. No six years"), drowning out the voice of the Governor. Peaceful protests continued until the passing of a resolution to abolish apprenticeship and the achievement of de facto freedom.|||
|1838||USA||Cherokee removal||The Cherokee refused to recognize the fraudulent Treaty of New Echota and therefore did not sell their livestock or goods, and did not pack anything to travel to the west before the soldiers came and forcibly removed them. That ended tragically in the Cherokee trail of tears.|
|1849-1867||Habsburg Monarchy||Passive Resistance (Hungary)||In the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarians tried to regain independence, and were defeated by the Austrian Empire only with the aid of the Russian Empire. After 1848, the empire instituted several constitutional reforms, trying to resolve the problem, but without success. The resistance was instrumental in keeping up hope and spirit in a Hungary fully incorporated into Austria and characterized by reprisals against political dissidents, thousands of treason trials, military governance, centralization, absolutism, censorship and direct control of Vienna over every aspect of public life. Their followers carefully avoided any political agitation or criticism of the establishment, and strictly concentrated on national issues of non-political nature, such as the use of the Hungarian language, development of the Hungarian economy, and protection of the legal standing of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.|
|1860–1894, 1915–1918||New Zealand||Tainui-Waikato||Māori King Tāwhiao forbade Waikato Māori using violence in the face of British colonisation, saying in 1881 "The killing of men must stop; the destruction of land must stop. I shall bury my patu in the earth and it shall not rise again ... Waikato, lie down. Do not allow blood to flow from this time on." This was inspirational to Waikato Māori who refused to fight in World War I. In response, the government brought in conscription for the Tainui-Waikato people (other Māori iwi were exempt), but they continued to resist, the majority of conscripts choosing to suffer harsh military punishments rather than join the army. For the duration of the war, no Tainui soldiers were sent overseas.|||
|1879–1880||New Zealand||Parihaka||The Māori village of Parihaka became the center of passive resistance campaigns against Europeans occupying confiscated land in the area. More than 400 followers of the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai were arrested and jailed, most without trial. Sentences as long as 16 months were handed out for the acts of ploughing land and erecting fences on their property. More than 2000 inhabitants remained seated when 1600 armed soldiers raided and destroyed the village.|||
|1908–62||Samoa||Mau movement||Nonviolent movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule in the early 20th century.|||
|1919. 2.8, 3.1||Korea||March 1st Movement||This movement became the inspiration of the later Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's Satyagraha—resistance and many other non-violent movement in Asia.|||
|1919–22||Egypt||Egyptian Revolution of 1919||A countrywide revolution against the British occupation of Egypt. It was carried out by Egyptians from different walks of life in the wake of the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul and other members of the Wafd Party in 1919. The event led to Egyptian independence in 1922 and the implementation of a new constitution in 1923.|
|1919–21||Ireland||Irish Non-cooperation movement||During the Irish War for Independence, Irish nationalists used many non-violent means to resist British rule. Amongst these was abstention from the British parliament, tax boycotts, and the creation of alternative local government, Dáil Courts, and police.|||
Palestinian Protests in West Bank
|Palestinian groups have worked with Israelis and foreign citizens to organize civilian monitors of Israeli military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Peace camps and strategic non-violent resistance to Israeli construction of Jewish settlements and of the West Bank Barrier have also been consistently adopted as tactics by Palestinians. Citizens of the Palestinian village of Beit Sahour also engaged in a tax strike during the First Intifada. |
In 2010, A "White Intifada" took hold in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Weekly protests by Peaceful Palestinian activities accompanied by B'Tselem ( the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) in addition to Israel academics and students against settlers and security forces. The EU through its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has criticised the peaceful movement and is she was deeply concerned about the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh. There have been two fatalities among protesters and an American peace activist suffered brain damage after being hit by a tear gas canister.
|1920–22||British India||Non-cooperation movement||A series of nationwide people's movements of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) and the Indian National Congress. In addition to bringing about independence, Gandhi's nonviolence also helped improve the status of the Untouchables in Indian society.|
|1923||Germany||The Occupation of the Ruhr||With the aim of occupying the centre of German coal, iron, and steel production in the Ruhr valley; France invaded Germany for neglecting some of its reparation payments after World War I. The occupation of the Ruhr was initially greeted by a campaign of passive resistance.|
|1930–34||British India||Civil disobedience movement||Nonviolent resistance marked by rejecting British imposed taxes, boycotting British manufactured products and mass strikes, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) and the Indian National Congress.|
|1933–45||Germany||German Resistance||Throughout World War II, there were a series of small and usually isolated groups that used nonviolent techniques against the Nazis. These groups include the White Rose and the Confessional Church.|
|1940–43||Denmark||Danish resistance movement||During World War II, after the invasion of the Wehrmacht, the Danish government adopted a policy of official co-operation (and unofficial obstruction) which they called "negotiation under protest." Embraced by many Danes, the unofficial resistance included slow production, emphatic celebration of Danish culture and history, and bureaucratic quagmires.|
|1940–45||Norway||Norwegian resistance movement||During World War II, Norwegian civil disobedience included preventing the Nazification of Norway's educational system, distributing of illegal newspapers, and maintaining social distance (an "ice front") from the German soldiers.|
|1942||British India||Quit India Movement||The Quit India Movement (Bharat Chhodo Andolan or the August Movement) was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for immediate independence.|
|1945–71||South Africa||Defiance Campaign|
Internal resistance to South African apartheid
|The ANC and allied anti-apartheid groups initially carried out non-violent resistance against pro-racial segregation and apartheid governments in South Africa.|
|1946–1958||Territory of Hawaii||Hawaii Democratic Revolution of 1954||Following World War II, general strikes were initiated by the large working poor against racial and economic inequality under Hawaii's plantation economy. Movement members took over most of the government in 1954 and the State of Hawaii was established in 1959.|
|1955–68||USA||African-American Civil Rights Movement|
Chicano Civil Rights Movement
Mass protest in the United States
|Tactics of nonviolent resistance, such as bus boycotts, freedom rides, sit-ins and mass demonstrations, were used during the African American Civil Rights Movement. This movement succeeded in bringing about legislative change, making separate seats, drinking fountains, and schools for African Americans illegal, and obtaining full Voting Rights.|||
|1957–present||USA||Committee for Non-Violent Action||Among the most dedicated to nonviolent resistance against the US arsenal of nuclear weapons has been the Plowshares Movement, consisting largely of Catholic priests, such as Dan Berrigan, and nuns. Since the first Plowshares action in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania during the autumn of 1980, more than 70 of these actions have taken place.|||
|1959–present||Cuba||Cuban opposition since 1959||There have been many nonviolent activists in opposition to Cuba's authoritarian regime. Among these are Pedro Luis Boitel (1931–1972), Guillermo Fariñas Hernández ("El Coco"), and Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez), all of whom have performed hunger strikes.|||
|1965–1972||USA||Draft resistance||During the Vietnam War, many young Americans chose to resist the military draft by refusing to cooperate with the Selective Service System. Techniques of resistance included misrepresenting one's physical or mental condition to the draft board, disrupting draft board processes, going "underground", going to jail, leaving the country, and publicly promoting such activities.|||
|February 11, 1967||USA||Los Angeles Black Cat Protest(1), Homosexual Bar and Site of Civil Resistance to Heightened Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Raids against Homosexual Establishments throughout the City, especially in the Homosexual Quarter known as Sunset Junction(2) District/East Hollywood An Historic Cultural Monument, City of Los Angeles, recognized as a site of Peaceful Civil Resistance in the struggle for Homosexual Civil Rights in the United States. The standoff is significant in that it occurred a year prior to the 1968 Stonewall Riots in New York. The Stonewall Bar in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.||A tense standoff and potential riot between Hundreds of LAPD riot gear-laden police officers, who were determined to quell the swelling crowds that exceeded four hundred homosexual citizens, was averted after a last minute plea from then new Governor Ronald Reagan, via an openly gay Republican Judicial Appointee who acted as a personal envoy of the Governor to LAPD Commanders at the site of the standoff, was accepted, and a stand down order given which ordered the hundreds of LAPD officers present to cease and desist from further unprovoked harassment of homosexuals in Los Angeles for decades. The plea was successfully communicated and accepted by the LAPD hierarchy, and represented the first time that a stand down order was given by the LAPD, and was the last time until 2001, that the Los Angeles Police Department would engage in raiding an establishment, or public assembly of homosexuals in Los Angeles for decades. The hundreds who gathered to peacefully protest raids perceived as unwarranted, and often violent, against LGBT meeting sites in Los Angeles, observed a success in the struggle for Homosexual Civil Rights.|||
|1968||Worldwide||Protests of 1968||The protests that raged throughout 1968 were for the most part student-led. Worldwide, campuses became the front-line battle grounds for social change. While opposition to the Vietnam War dominated the protests, students also protested for civil liberties, against racism, for feminism, and the beginnings of the Ecology movement can be traced to the protests against nuclear and biological weapons during this year.|||
|1968||Czechoslovakia||Prague Spring||During the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Czechoslovak citizens responded to the attack on their sovereignty with passive resistance. Russian troops were frustrated as street signs were painted over, their water supplies mysteriously shut off, and buildings decorated with flowers, flags, and slogans like, "An elephant cannot swallow a hedgehog."|
|1970–81||France||Larzac||In response to an expansion of a military base, local farmers including José Bové and other supporters including Lanza del Vasto took part in nonviolent resistance. The military expansion was canceled after ten years of resistance.|
|1979||Iran||Iranian Revolution||The Iranian Revolution of 1979 or 1979 Revolution (often known as the Islamic Revolution), refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.|||
|Solidarity, a broad anti-communist social movement ranging from people associated with the Roman Catholic Church to members of the anti-communist Left, advocated non-violence in its members' activities. Additionally, the Orange Alternative offered a wider group of citizens an alternative way of opposition against the authoritarian regime by means of a peaceful protest that used absurd and nonsensical elements.|||
|1986||Philippines||People Power Revolution||A series of nonviolent and prayerful mass street demonstrations that toppled Ferdinand Marcos and placed Corazon C. Aquino into power. After an election which had been condemned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, over two million Filipinos protested human rights violations, election fraud, massive political corruption, and other abuses of the Marcos regime. Yellow was a predominant theme, the colour being associated with Corazon Aquino and her husband, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., who was assassinated three years prior.|
|1987–90||The Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)||Singing Revolution||A cycle of mass demonstrations featuring spontaneous singing in The Baltic States. The movement eventually collected 4,000,000 people who sang national songs and hymns, which were strictly forbidden during the years of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States, as local rock musicians played. In later years, people acted as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the Soviet tanks, eventually regaining Lithuania's, Latvia's, and Estonia's independence without any bloodshed.|||
|1989–90||East Germany||Monday demonstrations in East Germany||The Monday demonstrations in East Germany in 1989 and 1990 (German: Montagsdemonstrationen) were a series of peaceful political protests against the authoritarian government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) of East Germany that took place every Monday evening.|
|1990–91||Azerbaijan SSR||Black January||A crackdown of Azeri protest demonstrations by the Red Army in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR. The demonstrators protested against ethnic violence, demanded the ousting of communist officials and called for independence from the Soviet Union.|
|2000||Serbia||Otpor!||Otpor! (English: Resistance!) was a civic youth movement that existed as such from 1998 until 2003 in Serbia (then a federal unit within FR Yugoslavia), employing nonviolent struggle against the regime of Slobodan Milošević as their course of action. In the course of two-year nonviolent struggle against Milosevic, Otpor spread across Serbia and attracted more than 70,000 supporters. They were credited for their role in the successful overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000.|
|2003||Liberia||Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace||This peace movement, started by women praying and singing in a fish market, brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.|
|2004–05||Israel||Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004||Protesters opposing Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 nonviolently resisted impending evacuations of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Protesters blocked several traffic intersections, resulting in massive gridlock and delays throughout Israel. While Israeli police had received advance notice of the action, opening traffic intersections proved extremely difficult. Eventually, over 400 demonstrators were arrested, including many juveniles. Further large demonstrations planned to commence when Israeli authorities, preparing for disengagement, cut off access to the Gaza Strip. During the confrontation, mass civil disobedience failed to emerge in Israel proper. However, some settlers and their supporters resisted evacuation non-violently.|
|2004–2005||Ukraine||Orange Revolution||A series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of acts of civil disobedience, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the opposition movement.|
|2005||Lebanon||Cedar Revolution||A chain of demonstrations in Lebanon (especially in the capital Beirut) triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.|
|2011||Tunisia||2010–2011 Tunisian uprising||A chain of demonstrations against unemployment and government corruption in Tunisia. Protests were triggered by the self-immolation of the vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi and resulted in the 24-year-ruling president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country a month later.|
|2011||Egypt||2011 Egyptian protests||A chain of protests, sit-ins, and strikes starting January 25 that eventually led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.|
|2011–present||Bahrain||Bahraini uprising (2011–present)||Inspired by the regional Arab Spring, protests started in Bahrain on 14 February. The government responded harshly, killing four protesters camping in Pearl Roundabout. Later, protesters were allowed to reoccupy the roundabout where they staged large marches amounting to 150,000 participants. |
On 14 March, Saudi-led GCC forces were requested by the government and entered the country, which the opposition called an "occupation". The following day state of emergency was declared and protests paused after a brutal crackdown was launched against protesters including doctors and bloggers. More than 2,929 people have been arrested, and at least five people died due to torture while in police custody.
Protests resumed after lifting emergency law on 1 June, several large rallies were staged by the opposition parties including a march on 9 March 2012 attended by over 100,000. Smaller-scale protests and clashes outside of the capital have continued to occur almost daily. More than 80 people had died since the start of the uprising.
|2011–present||Spain||2011–2013 Spanish protests|
|2011||USA||Occupy Wall Street|
|2012–present||Mexico||Yo Soy 132|
|2013–present||Turkey||protests in Turkey 2013||Peaceful protests against reconstruction of the Gezi park at the Istanbuls landmark square Taksim, tuned in to protests against Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Over million people nonviolently resist police brutal force. Started in Istanbul, protests spread in 10 days to over 82 cities of Turkey. Significant violence from the police side is manifested by using the tear gas, and rubber bullets. Many people was arrested for just standing at the square.|||
|2013–present||Egypt||2013 Egyptian coup d'état|
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