What is the Difference Between a Protest and a Riot?
Peaceful Protests vs. Riots
The unrest sweeping the country shows a deep disconnect in the direction of the United States. In some examples, like the protest in Palos Verdes Estates, are peaceful and represent the legitimate concerns of people. The control of major police unions has enabled a lack of accountability. And this results in many things-- including, as we saw in Minneapolis, violence. However, this is not the entire story. Furthermore, a look between protests and riots shows the overall picture much better and clearer.
Two clear messages are being sent by the crowds in major cities. Many protests are peaceful and follow along with the general guidelines of dissent. They are constitutional and mostly during the daytime. However, as we've seen in LA, Minneapolis, and DC-- there are some very different things happening during riots and looting.
Understanding the Differences.
There are several major factors at play dividing the two waves of civil unrest. On the one hand, the two may seem the same. However, elements are driving the violence and looting in some major cities.
- The strength of local leaders. Some local leaders, like the Mayors of Atlanta and St. Paul, MN, called for calm and civil protest. However, some leaders-- like the Mayor of Minneapolis and Governor of Minnesota have been asleep at the wheel. And this goes double for the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
- Antifa. This newly declared terrorist organization does not have a large presence in every major city. However, the cities in which they do have seen some of the worst violence. Portland comes to mind. That city is beset by upper middle class white young people urging violence among whites and blacks. Several YouTube and Twitter videos showed Antifa members stoking violent actions.
Put these factors together with the strain of the Coronavirus, and the temperature reached a boiling point. Where we head from here is not yet clear. However, in all likelihood, it will be up to citizens to solve these issues on our own. Keep it here for more updates and legal analysis.