A protest (also called a remonstrance or a remonstration) is an expression of objection by words or by actions to particular events, policies, or situations. Protests can take many different forms; from individual statements to mass demonstrations. Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful campaign to achieve a particular objective, and involve the use of pressure as well as persuasion, they go beyond mere protest and may be better described as cases of civil resistance or nonviolent resistance.
Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted by governmental policy (such as the requirement of protest permits), economic circumstances, religious orthodoxy, social structures, or mediamonopoly. When such restrictions occur, protests may assume the form of open civil disobedience, more subtle forms of resistance against the restrictions, or may spill over into other areas such as culture and emigration.
A protest can itself sometimes be the subject of a counter-protest. In such a case, counter-protesters demonstrate their support for the person, policy, action, etc. that is the subject of the original protest.
Picketing, a form of protest in which people congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in ("crossing the picket line"), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause.
Street protesters, characteristically, work alone, gravitating towards areas of high foot traffic, and employing handmade placards such as sandwich boards or picket signs in order to maximize exposure and interaction with the public.
Lockdowns and lock-ons are a way to stop movement of an object, like a structure or tree and to thwart movement of actual protesters from the location. Users employ various chains, locks and even the sleeping dragon for impairment of those trying to remove them with a matrix of composted materials.
Die-ins are a form of protest where participants simulate being dead (with varying degrees of realism). In the simplest form of a die-in, protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners. Much of the effectiveness depends on the posture of the protesters, for when not properly executed, the protest might look more like a "sleep-in". For added realism, simulated wounds are sometimes painted on the bodies, or (usually "bloody") bandages are used.
Radical cheerleading. The idea is to ironically reappropriate the aesthetics of cheerleading, for example by changing the chants to promote feminism and left-wing causes. Many radical cheerleaders (some of whom are male, transgender or non-gender identified) are in appearance far from the stereotypical image of a cheerleader.
Critical Mass bike rides have been perceived as protest activities. A 2006 New Yorker magazine article described Critical Mass' activity in New York City as "monthly political-protest rides", and characterized Critical Mass as a part of a social movement; and the UKe-zineUrban75, which advertises as well as publishes photographs of the Critical Mass event in London, describes this as "the monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets of London." However, Critical Mass participants have insisted that these events should be viewed as "celebrations" and spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized demonstrations. This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police.
During a sporting event, under certain circumstances, one side may choose to play a game "under protest", usually when they feel the rules are not being correctly applied. The event continues as normal, and the events causing the protest are reviewed after the fact. If the protest is held to be valid, then the results of the event are changed. Each sport has different rules for protests.
Economic effects of protests against companies
A study of 342 US protests covered by the New York Times newspaper in the period 1962 and 1990 showed that such public activities usually had an impact on the company's publicly traded stock price. The most intriguing aspect of the study's findings is that what mattered most was not the number of protest participants, but the amount of media coverage the event received. Stock prices fell an average of one-tenth of a percent for every paragraph printed about the event.