Riot vs. Protest

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Riot and Protest is that the Riot is a form of civil disorder and Protest is a expression of objection.

  • Riot

    A riot () is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority, property or people. Riots typically involve theft, vandalism, and destruction of property, public or private. The property targeted varies depending on the riot and the inclinations of those involved. Targets can include shops, cars, restaurants, state-owned institutions, and religious buildings.

    Riots often occur in reaction to a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Historically, riots have occurred due to poor working or living conditions, governmental oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between ethnic groups, (race riot) or religions (sectarian violence, pogrom), the outcome of a sporting event (sports riot, football hooliganism) or frustration with legal channels through which to air grievances.

    While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots typically consist of disorganized groups that are frequently “chaotic and exhibit herd behavior.” However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that riots are not irrational, herd-like behavior, but actually follow inverted social norms.

    T. S. Ashton, in his study of food riots among colliers, noted that “the turbulence of the colliers is, of course, to be accounted for by something more elementary than politics: it was the instinctive reaction of virility to hunger.” Charles Wilson noted, “Spasmodic rises in food prices provoked keelmen on the Tyne to riot in 1709, tin miners to plunder granaries at Falmouth in 1727.”

    Today, some rioters have an improved understanding of the tactics used by police in riot situations. Manuals for successful rioting are available on the internet, with tips such as encouraging rioters to get the press involved, as there is more safety and attention with the cameras rolling. Citizens with video cameras may also have an effect on both rioters and police.

    Dealing with riots is often a difficult task for police forces. They may use tear gas or CS gas to control rioters. Riot police may use less-than-lethal methods of control, such as shotguns that fire flexible baton rounds to injure or otherwise incapacitate rioters for easier arrest.

  • Protest

    A protest (also called a remonstrance, remonstration or demonstration) is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations. Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful campaign to achieve a particular objective, and involve the use of pressure as well as persuasion, they go beyond mere protest and may be better described as cases of civil resistance or nonviolent resistance.

    Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted by governmental policy (such as the requirement of protest permits), economic circumstances, religious orthodoxy, social structures, or media monopoly. One state reaction to protests is the use of riot police. Observers have noted an increased militarization of protest policing, with police deploying armored vehicles and snipers against the protesters. When such restrictions occur, protests may assume the form of open civil disobedience, more subtle forms of resistance against the restrictions, or may spill over into other areas such as culture and emigration.

    A protest itself may at times be the subject of a counter-protest. In such a case, counter-protesters demonstrate their support for the person, policy, action, etc. that is the subject of the original protest. In some cases, these protesters can violently clash.

  • Riot (noun)

    Wanton or unrestrained behavior; uproar; tumult.

  • Riot (noun)

    The tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by an unlawful assembly of three or more persons in the execution of some private object.

  • Riot (noun)

    A wide and unconstrained variety.

  • Riot (noun)

    Excessive and expensive feasting; wild and loose festivity; revelry.

  • Riot (verb)

    To create or take part in a riot; to raise an uproar or sedition.

    “The nuclear protesters rioted outside the military base.”

  • Riot (verb)

    To act in an unrestrained or wanton manner; to indulge in excess of luxury, feasting, etc.

  • Protest (verb)

    To make a strong objection.

    “How dare you, I protest!”

    “The public took to the streets to protest over the planned change to the law.”

  • Protest (verb)

    To affirm (something).

    “I protest my innocence.”

    “I do protest and declare”


  • Protest (verb)

    To object to.

    “They protested the demolition of the school.”

  • Protest (verb)

    To call as a witness in affirming or denying, or to prove an affirmation; to appeal to.

  • Protest (verb)

    to make a solemn written declaration, in due form, on behalf of the holder, against all parties liable for any loss or damage to be sustained by non-acceptance or non-payment of (a bill or note). This should be made by a notary public, whose seal it is the usual practice to affix.

  • Protest (noun)

    A formal objection, especially one by a group.

    “They lodged a protest with the authorities.”

  • Protest (noun)

    A collective gesture of disapproval: a demonstration.

    “We held a protest in front of City Hall.”


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