Rallies are part of the political culture. They are forms of non-violent resistance, widely used all over the world. In this way large numbers of people express their opinion about a certain political, cultural, environmental or social affairs. Speakers are part of the process. They can use signs, banners, other forms of creative expression, symbols, messages and so on. Some rallies can change thoughts of the people and development of human history.
List of famous rallies in the world include:
– Martin Luther King’s struggle for civil rights, his famous march on Washington DC in 1963
– Rallies in Iran from in August-December 1978. It lead to revolution and establishment of Islamic state
– “Colored revolutions” in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004). Hundreds of thousands people demanded change of their governments
– Anti-war protest on February 15, 2003. It was the largest scale rally in the human history. Citizens of various countries, in hundreds of cities demanded to stop Iraq war. Estimated number of all protestant varies from 8 to 30 million.
– In December 2010 revolution in Egypt and so on.
It is considered that rallies are stronger if they involve many people. Though large number of the attendants does not always define success. Government may restrict freedom of speech with different means: legislation, police attacks, creating unfavorable environment, etc.
Legal regulations of rallies and demonstrations vary according countries. USA defines “Free Speech Zones” (also known as First Amendment Zones) where public can enjoy their freedom of speech, express opinions on political, social, economic issues and so on. Though they are limited spaces and in some cases organizers need to get special permission from the government.
The case is different in Republic of Georgia. Constitution provides freedom of assembly, but recent amendment in the Law of Meetings and Manifestations defines 20 meter distance limitation from the buildings. Organizers should apply for permission 5 days in advance and indicate exact date and time of the rally.
On June Rally in the central street of Milwaukee was devoted to huge military spending of US budget. They believe that USA needs to decrease war expenditures and increased finances in education, social projects, environmental issues, etc. They tried to gain attention of the citizens with slogans and different banners.
Have you ever participated in rallies? What’s your experience? Was it effective? Could it reach desired aims? Do you believe that protest of large number of people can make changes just standing together?