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Protest Rally Essay

“I Did Not Organize And Set Up This Protest,’’ he wrote. “However I Still Support My Brother And His Stance On The Injustices In The USA.”

The N.A.A.C.P. wants to meet with Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., to discuss Kaepernick’s absence from an N.F.L. roster.

“No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech — to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the N.F.L.’s own regulations,” Derrick Johnson, the organization’s interim president and chief executive, said in a letter to the N.F.L. commissioner.

Just as Kaepernick’s protest drew criticism, so did the rally in support of him. A small group of protesters stood across the street, some holding signs in support of the police.

“They are alleging that there is racism involved in Kaepernick not signing in the N.F.L., but he’s a free agent to sign or not sign,” said Karen Braun, who was among the counterprotesters. “Was race the intent? No one can prove that.”

On Monday, in the largest on-field demonstration yet, a dozen Cleveland Browns players knelt during the national anthem, while several other players stood next to them in solidarity. In contrast to last season, when Kaepernick and a handful of black players refused to stand during the anthem, the group included white players.

Goodell has insisted that the league’s 32 teams are not banning Kaepernick. But the issue has put Goodell in the awkward position of defending owners and coaches who have twisted themselves in knots defending their decision not to sign Kaepernick, a quarterback who, unlike the two dozen or so who have been signed so far this year, has led a team to a Super Bowl.

From Baltimore to Miami to Seattle, teams in need of starting or backup quarterbacks signed players with either little experience or a mixed track record, and had to explain, often awkwardly, why they had passed over Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March. The Dolphins even coaxed Jay Cutler out of retirement.

Kaepernick and the anthem-kneeling dispute that he inspired are just the latest in a series of headaches for Goodell and the N.F.L., which is in the spotlight again for its handling of players who are accused of domestic violence, for its handling of concussions and for its harsh stand against the use of marijuana, which some players contend is a safer alternative to the highly addictive painkillers that teams dispense.

The continuing debate over whether players should or should not stand for the national anthem, though, is perhaps the most explosive issue facing the N.F.L., which celebrates patriotism and military service like no other league. The anthem-kneeling that Kaepernick inspired has divided fans like few other issues and has shown signs of chipping away at the league’s bottom line.

Television ratings at every one of the league’s network partners fell last year for the first time, and while the reasons for the decline are complicated — including the presidential election and the absence of recognizable stars like Peyton Manning — some fans said they had stopped watching the N.F.L. because Kaepernick and other players knelt during the anthem.

As the controversy continues into its second year, more fans who look to sports for a diversion from politics could turn away as the season progresses.

Andrew McCarthy, a contributing editor at National Review and a former federal prosecutor, seemed to speak for many disaffected fans when he wrote on Twitter this week that the anthem protests had made him less interested in watching N.F.L. games. He justified his decision this way: “Because I am like millions of people who love football as an escape from politics but won’t if it no longer is,” he wrote. “Makes me very ordinary.”

Goodell has said several times, as he did on Wednesday during a meeting with Lions fans in Detroit, that there has been no coordinated effort to prevent teams from signing Kaepernick, and that if a team needed a quarterback with his skills, it would sign him.

“I think every one of our teams will do what is in their best interest to put a winning team on the field and to do what they really are hoping to do, which is create a franchise that is winning,” he said. “And if they see that opportunity, they’ll do that.”

But he has also had to walk a fine line, supporting players who are protesting while appeasing fans who are against them. On Wednesday, Goodell tried to frame the protests as a way for the players to express how much they care about their communities.

Keith Sirois, a restaurant executive and Lions fan who asked Goodell about the protests, was unconvinced. Why, he wondered, does the league crack down on how players celebrate in the end zone or how they wear their uniforms, yet not require that players stand for the anthem? He was not opposed to the players’ messages. He just did not want to see them expressed at a game.

“He’s in a bad spot,” Sirois said of Goodell.

Events, though, may be outpacing Goodell’s efforts to address them. The number of players who have knelt during the playing of the anthem has grown. So has talk of wider protests in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Va., where this month neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters. This has given life to an issue the league hoped would go away, further dividing fans.

“It certainly has become a big part of the conversation around the N.F.L. and the current season,” said Daniel Adshead, a Browns fan who supports the protests. “I think it wouldn’t be as much of a distraction had Colin Kaepernick found a team by now. People seem to like the status quo, and they don’t like change and seeing instability.”

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Not to be confused with Protest.

A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.

Actions such as blockades and sit-ins may also be referred to as demonstrations. Demonstrations can be nonviolent or violent (usually referred to by participants as "militant"), or can begin as nonviolent and turn violent dependent on circumstances. Sometimes riot police or other forms of law enforcement become involved. In some cases this may be in order to try to prevent the protest from taking place at all. In other cases it may be to prevent clashes between rival groups, or to prevent a demonstration from spreading and turning into a riot.

The term has been in use since the mid-19th century, as was the term 'monster meeting', which was coined initially with reference to the huge assemblies of protesters inspired by Daniel O'Connell in Ireland.[1] Demonstrations are a form of activism, usually taking the form of a public gathering of people in a rally or walking in a march. Thus, the opinion is demonstrated to be significant by gathering in a crowd associated with that opinion.

Demonstrations can be used to show a viewpoint (either positive or negative) regarding a public issue, especially relating to a perceived grievance or social injustice. A demonstration is usually considered more successful if more people participate.

Historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote of demonstrations:

Next to sex, the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation. Unlike sex, which is essentially individual, it is by its nature collective… like sex it implies some physical action—marching, chanting slogans, singing—through which the merger of the individual in the mass, which is the essence of the collective experience, finds expression.[2]

Forms[edit]

There are many types of demonstrations, including a variety of elements. These may include:

  • Marches, in which a parade demonstrate while moving along a set route.
  • Rallies, in which people gather to listen to speakers or musicians.
  • Picketing, in which people surround an area (normally an employer).
  • Sit-ins, in which demonstrators occupy an area, sometimes for a stated period but sometimes indefinitely, until they feel their issue has been addressed, or they are otherwise convinced or forced to leave.
  • Nudity, in which they protest naked - here the antagonist may give in before the demonstration happens to avoid embarrassment.

Demonstrations are sometimes spontaneous gatherings, but are also utilized as a tactical choice by movements. They often form part of a larger campaign of nonviolent resistance, often also called civil resistance. Demonstrations are generally staged in public, but private demonstrations are certainly possible, especially if the demonstrators wish to influence the opinions of a small or very specific group of people. Demonstrations are usually physical gatherings, but virtual or online demonstrations are certainly possible.

Topics of demonstrations often deal with political, economic, and social issues. Particularly with controversial issues, sometimes groups of people opposed to the aims of a demonstration may themselves launch a counter-demonstration with the aim of opposing the demonstrators and presenting their view. Clashes between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators may turn violent.

Government-organized demonstrations are demonstrations which are organized by a government. The Islamic Republic of Iran,[3][4] the People's Republic of China,[5]Republic of Cuba,[6] the Soviet Union[7] and Argentina,[8] among other nations, have had government-organized demonstrations.

Times and locations[edit]

Sometimes the date or location chosen for the demonstration is of historical or cultural significance, such as the anniversary of some event that is relevant to the topic of the demonstration.

Locations are also frequently chosen because of some relevance to the issue at hand. For example, if a demonstration is targeted at issues relating to foreign nation, the demonstration may take place at a location associated with that nation, such as an embassy of the nation in question.

Nonviolence or violence[edit]

Protest marches and demonstrations are a common nonviolent tactic. They are thus one tactic available to proponents of strategic nonviolence. However, the reasons for avoiding the use of violence may also derive, not from a general doctrine of nonviolence or pacifism, but from considerations relating to the particular situation that is faced, including its legal, cultural and power-political dimensions: this has been the case in many campaigns of civil resistance.[9]

Some demonstrations and protests can turn, at least partially, into riots or mob violence against objects such as automobiles and businesses, bystanders and the police.[citation needed] Police and military authorities often use non-lethal force or less-lethal weapons, such as tasers, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas against demonstrators in these situations.[citation needed] Sometimes violent situations are caused by the preemptive or offensive use of these weapons which can provoke, destabilize, or escalate a conflict.

As a known tool to prevent the infiltration by agents provocateurs,[10] the organizers of large or controversial assemblies may deploy and coordinate demonstration marshals, also called stewards.[11][12]

Law by country[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(August 2015)

Brazil[edit]

Freedom of assembly in Brazil is granted by art. 5th, item XVI, of the Constitution of Brazil (1988): Constitution of Brazil - Text in English.

Egypt[edit]

Main article: Egyptian protest law

Russia[edit]

Main article: Freedom of assembly in Russia

Freedom of assembly in the Russian Federation is granted by Art. 31 of the Constitution adopted in 1993:

Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets.[13]

Demonstrations and protests are further regulated by the Federal Law of the Russian Federation No.54-FZ "On Meetings, Rallies, Demonstrations, Marches and Pickets". If the assembly in public is expected to involve more than one participant, its organisers are obliged to notify executive or local self-government authorities of the upcoming event few days in advance in writing. However, legislation does not foresee an authorisation procedure, hence the authorities have no right to prohibit an assembly or change its place unless it threatens the security of participants or is planned to take place near hazardous facilities, important railways, viaducts, pipelines, high voltage electric power lines, prisons, courts, presidential residences or in the border control zone. The right to gather can also be restricted in close proximity of cultural and historical monuments.

Singapore[edit]

Main article: Public demonstrations in Singapore

Public demonstrations are rare in Singapore, where it is illegal to hold cause-related events without a valid licence from the authorities. Such laws include the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act and the Public Order Act.

Ukraine[edit]

Main article: Anti-protest laws in Ukraine

United Kingdom[edit]

Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and the Terrorism Act 2006, there are areas designated as 'protected sites' where people are not allowed to go. Previously, these were military bases and nuclear power stations, but the law is changing to include other, generally political areas, such as Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster, and the headquarters of MI5 and MI6. Previously, trespassers to these areas could not be arrested if they had not committed another crime and agreed to be escorted out, but this will change following amendments to the law.[14]

Human rights groups fear the powers could hinder peaceful protest. Nick Clegg, the then Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "I am not aware of vast troops of trespassers wanting to invade MI5 or MI6, still less running the gauntlet of security checks in Whitehall and Westminster to make a point. It's a sledgehammer to crack a nut." Liberty, the civil liberties pressure group, said the measure was "excessive".[15]

United States[edit]

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifically allows peaceful demonstrations and the freedom of assembly as part of a measure to facilitate the redress of such grievances. "Amendment I: Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."[16]

A growing trend in the United States has been the implementation of "free speech zones," or fenced-in areas which are often far-removed from the event which is being protested; critics of free-speech zones argue that they go against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by their very nature, and that they lessen the impact the demonstration might otherwise have had. In many areas it is required to get permission from the government to hold a demonstration.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^Eric Hobsbawm (2003). Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 73. 
  3. ^Analysis: Iran Sends Terror-Group Supporters To Arafat's Funeral Procession "...state-organized rallies..."
  4. ^Why Washington and Tehran are headed for a showdownThe Hedge Fund Journal 16 April 200
  5. ^Global News, No. GL99-072China News Digest June 3, 1989
  6. ^Cubans ponder life without FidelThe Washington Times 2 August 2006
  7. ^"Democracy in the Former Soviet Union: 1991-2004"Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Power and Interest News Report 28 December 2004
  8. ^Nicolás Pizzi (2012-07-29). "Militancia todo terreno: Sacan a presos de la cárcel para actos del kirchnerismo" [All-terrain militants: Prisoners are taken out of jail to take part in Kirchnerist demonstrations] (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  9. ^Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2009, especially at pp. 14-20.[1] Includes chapters by specialists on the various movements.
  10. ^Stratfor (2004) Radical, Anarchist Groups Pose Their Own Threat published by Stratfor, June 4, 2004 quote:

    Another common tactic is to infiltrate legitimate demonstrations in the attempt to stir widespread violence and rioting, seen most recently in a spring anti-Iraq war gathering in Vancouver, Canada. This has become so commonplace that sources within activist organizations have told STRATFOR they police their own demonstrations to prevent infiltration by fringe groups.

  11. ^Belyaeva et al. (2007) Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, published by OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Alternative version, Sections § 7-8, 156-162
  12. ^Bryan, Dominic The Anthropology of Ritual: Monitoring and Stewarding Demonstrations in Northern Ireland, Anthropology in Action, Volume 13, Numbers 1-2, January 2006, pp.22-31(10)
  13. ^Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation
  14. ^Morris, Steven, "New powers against trespassers at key sites", The Guardian, 24 March 2007. Retrieved on 23 June 2007.
  15. ^Brown, Colin, "No-go Britain: Royal Family and ministers protected from protesters by new laws", The Independent, 4 June 2007. Retrieved on 23 June 2007.
  16. ^"America's Founding Documents". 30 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Demonstration in Canada against oil tankers, 1970
Demonstration at the Andrássy avenue - Budapest
A nonviolent protest in New Zealand