Thursday, October 29, 2009

Local, Regional, and National Protests

This post points out the apparently different attitudes and practices of Indians and Pakistanis when it comes to public protests.  In particular, the author notes that Indians tend to engage in localized protests, whereas Pakistanis have recently been galvanized on regional and national levels. 

In the United States, protesters organize on all levels, from the very local to the national, depending on the issue.  Some protests that start out as local events may lead to national movements.  The civil rights movement is a good example, and there are many others.  Some protests are distinctly local, as where a group assembles to protest city council practices or policies, or to assemble at a particularly symbolic public place.  Many factors, including the resources of the protesters, public support, and the nature of the precipitating cause of the protest, will influence its geography, size, and duration. 

The author of the post suggests that the relative infrequency of regional or national protests in India may have something to do with the presence and relative stability of democratic structures and institutions in that country.  Perhaps, but of course even in an advanced democracy like the U.S. one sees regional and national protests movements.  Some of the reticence in India may relate to cultural norms, or fear of official reactions to public dissent.  Or perhaps it is the case, as it appears to be in Japan, that the public lacks the necessary training to participate in effective public protests. 


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