Hunger Strikes Are Passe: Try Kiss-Ins and Walks!

Liplock your way to protest discrimination against homosexuals. Pic courtesy: AP

Image: Liplock your way to protest against gay discrimination: a couple participate in the kiss-in protest organised outside the John Snow pub in SoHo, London.

Tis a season of protests and revolutions, methinks! Just look at the number of regimes that are toppling over in Middle East and Africa, and the number of citizens out on the streets raising their voices against corruption, oppression, human rights, and the right to a secure and free state.

While ‘digital activism’ is now being heralded as the new weapon of choice for citizen revolutionaries – refer to Facebook groups and Twitter mobilizations, there are others who chose the age old route to get the government’s attention – Hunger Strikes, Sit-Ins and Sloganeering / Bannering on streets.

However, what caught my attention recently are two really ingenious ways to protest against injustice: the Kiss-in Protest in London’s SoHo, where hundreds of straight and homosexual couples descended on the London pub John Snow for a mass smooch event after a gay couple were ‘thrown out for snogging’ (Read more via Daily Mail, UK) and the ‘Walk to Work’ protest engineered by Uganda’s opposition party key figure Kizza Besigye (read more below).

Below are five, random popped-my-eyes-open protests staged in the last couple of years.

‘Ukraine is not a Brothel’ Protest: Experts say that there are 12,000 prostitutes in Ukraine, many of whom are students trying to make ends meet in difficult times. One group has found creative — and sometimes abrasive — ways to let foreign tourists know that “Ukraine is no whorehouse.” – via

Femen, a rights activist group comprising mainly female students from Ukraine, protest against the 'sex capital' tag of the country
Ukraine is infamous for its ‘sex industry’. Femen organises protests across Kiev to draw attention the increasing number of college girls who turn to prostitution to make ends meet

‘Walk to Work’ Protest: The Ugandan opposition last week started the peaceful Walk to Work campaign to protest against sharp increases in the prices of food, fuel and commodities, with inflation now into the double digits. Via: TheEastAfrican.Police officer Mugalya 2324 (L) attached to Jinja Road Police Station pushes journalists from the police station to stop them from covering the arrests during a walk to work campaign on April 14. Photo by Joseph Kiggundu via Daily Monitor, Uganda

The Walk to Work Campaign initiated by Uganda’s opposition party key figure Kizza Besigye is reminiscent of Gandhi’s Dandi March against the British for imposing Salt Tax

Pink Chaddi Campaign, India: Journalist Nisha Susan set up The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose, and Forward Women on Facebook and urged women to send pink panties to Pramod Mutalik, the head of the ultra-conservative Hindu group Shri Ram Sena, in order to shame him into backing down from his threats to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Pink Chaddi Campaign initiated by an Indian journalist. Pic courtesy
Wonder what he did with all those pink panties?

Toss the Shoe: Muntadhar al-Zaidi will go down in Arab folklore as the man who dared to throw his shoes at George Bush in December 2008. It set the precedent for similar shoe throwing incidents across the world, including the one against Home Minister P. Chidambaram in India.
Journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi Throws the Shoe at Target

PETA’s Caged Nude:

There are scores of unique protests employed by citizens today, partly because it grabs media attention when sensation or novelty is involved. I guess, injustice can be tackled not only via serious political sloganeering and street marches, but also through funny, intelligent and contextual campaigns that involve non-participants to take an interest in the act and the cause. Do you have an unusual protest idea to support a particular cause, then write to me!


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