Final Piece: Does Protest Work? (Podcast)

captions for the podcast

host : Welcome back to daily debates with your host, comfortable_chemistry. here we talk about all sorts of issues, bringing in people with different points of view. today's topic is: does protest work?

our first guest is chris, the founder of 'refuge for animals'. Could you please introudce yourself?

Chris : Hello everyone, my name is Chris and 'Refuge for Animals' is an organisation based in california aiming to stop the exploitation of animals. We protest for their safety - for example, one of our protest aims was to stop animal testing, as more than 100 million animals are being killed in the US every year for experiments. I am very passionate about working in protests and agree that they work. Thank you for having me on the podcast!

host : Thank you for taking the time to fly all the way from the US to be here!

our next guest is rhea, a teacher from london. Would you please tell listeners a bit about yourself?

Rhea : Hi there, I'm Rhea. I am an english teacher of 6 years, and I believe sometimes protests are unsucessful. I'm very glad to be here today to see other opinions. Nice meeting you both.

host : Thank you both for your time.

Lets start with Chris, since you think protest works - could you give an example in the news where we can see this being shown?

Chris: One I can think of is the END SARS protests that started in october of 2020. I think it has been successful because the government has finally given people an answer to put an end to police brutality in Nigeria. Before protests, the government allowed SARS to abuse their power. they ignored this issue even after a long history of abuse towards civillians. It was only until the END SARS protests began, where more people started to see what the government was trying to hide. After gaining global support, the government was forced to promise to disband this police unit. This is proof protests work because they force authorities to act, giving people justice. If the protests didn't happen, members of SARS would've continued to abuse their power.

host : Rhea, could you give us your point of view?

An example of a protest that didn't work is Aung San Suu Kyi's campaign to stop military rule in Myanmar. In 1988, she spoke in front of half a million people calling for democracy in the country. she went against military rulers - now pereceived as a threat. This led to her house arrest in 1989. For six years she wasn't allowed to leave her home. Then in 2003, she was put on another house arrest for 7 years.

Her and the people's efforts were successful in 2011, when they gained a democracy. However all of this went downhill as this year, they are once again under military rule.

This shows protests can fail because she had many supporters - but in the end, the government had the final say in how the country was going to be run. You said the nigerian government made promises to disband SARS, but what have they done to actually stop police brutality? How do you know it's not just another false promise like what happened with myanmar?

host: The second question is, what do different people think about protests?

Chris : I think older generations may view protesters (as the majority are young people) as people who just want to cause disruption or chaos. This is because they might've grown up in a more conservative environment.

host: Since there are some younger listeners, could you quickly explain what conservative means?

Chris: To put it in simple terms, conservatism puts importance on traditional values in society. for example, beliefs that women should focus on their children instead of building their own careers.

Growing up in such an environment, they might've not been used to standing up against social expectations - so i can see why younger generations are seen to protest more, because we are encouraged to speak up and stand for what's right.

Rhea: I agree with Chris. I think there's a half and half divide when it comes to protests, regardless of someone's background or age. One side may view protesting as negtive because it might be a disruption to daily life. For example, I remember one time I had to drive back home after work and roads were busier than usual due to protests. On the other hand, one side may view protesting as positive because you are able to make a change for the better in most cases.

host: The third question is what are some factors that determine if a protest suceeds or fails?

Chris - I think protests work depending on how many people there are. Organising and planning protests on your own is difficult, so I think having large numbers increases your chance of the cause getting attention. It helps to make a statement and make people interested in the cause.

Rhea: I think the main reason why protests fail is because of the prohibitions from the government. They have a say in what laws there are and some countries even punish you from talking against authority, like North Korea. this means many people could be afraid of the consequences they may face if they protest.

In the UK, there are some instances where you need a permit to protest. The police sometimes also have the power to move the location or to limit the time it lasts. How is a protest going to work if the people can't even carry out what they plan to do?

host : Since there are no more questions left, can you say your last remarks on why protest does or doesn't work in your opinion?


I think protests work. the way our society functions today is a result of protests from the past! if the suffragettes didn't protest for equality for both genders, women might've not had the right to vote for all these years. If the civil rights movement didn't happen, segregation might've still existed.


I think protests sometimes don't work. this is because governments are most likely to have the final say in how the country is run. They may promise to change, but how do we know for sure that it will happen?

host: Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope you have enjoyed hearing different perspectives on this episode of daily debates, with your host comfortable_chemistry.

Do you think protests work?

We'd love to hear from our viewers. see you next week!


Comments (1)

  • tom Tom @ the BNC
    15 Feb 2021

    What a brilliant podcast! So much detail and thought has gone into it. Could you tell us more about how the backgrounds and experiences of the characters would have influenced their opinion on protest?

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