Riots and Rallies
The differences and effects of the two forms of ‘protest’
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized by disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence, vandalism or other crime. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are typically chaotic and exhibit herd behavior.
Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, government oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between races or religions, the outcome of a sporting event or frustration with legal channels through which to air grievances.
Riots typically involve vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. The specific property to be targeted varies depending on the cause of the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.
A demonstration is a form of non-violent action by groups of people in favor of a political or other cause, normally consisting of walking in a march and a meeting (rally) to hear speakers. Actions such as blockades and sit-ins may also be referred to as demonstrations.
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. Demonstrations are a form of activism, usually taking the form of a public gathering of people in a rally or walking in a march. At times, more interventionist actions such as blockades and sit-ins have been referred to as demonstrations. Thus, the opinion is demonstrated to be significant by gathering in a crowd associated with that opinion.
Past Social upheavals
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 were a series of demonstrations led by students, intellectuals and labour activists in the People’s Republic of China between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989. The demonstrations centred on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Government retaliation was often violent and riots broke out in affected regions. In 2005, the Chinese government admitted to 87,000 demonstrations and riots across China
Result: Remains to be seen as China is still a Communist nation but is embracing western ideologies slowly.
The worst riots in United States history with respect to lives lost took place during the Civil War when immigrant factory workers forcibly resisted the federal government’s military draft, the New York Draft Riots.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots, triggered by the Rodney King Trial were regarded as the worst in recent U.S. history with deaths estimated at 54 people and nearly a billion dollars in damage caused.
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