In a way, every major event in history can be reduced to a tale of power struggle and protest. Successful protests have struck down reprehensible policies like Apartheid, and brought attention to previously unknown issues like the many missing indigenous women in Canada. The extreme protests featured here cover a wide array of issues in different ways. From disturbing public art displays to physical backlashes, these protests shocked the world for a number of reasons. And once you learn about them, you’ll find them difficult to forget.
Kent State, Ohio
In light of Urban Outfitters’ recent gaffe of selling this bloodied Kent State sweatshirt, it’s important that the Kent State killings be understood, so that survivors and families of the deceased aren’t treated so flippantly. On May 4, 1970, four Kent State University students were killed and nine more were injured during a Vietnam War protest.
Following the burning of an ROTC building by an unknown perpetrator, the National Guard was called to the campus. The Ohio National Guard opened fire on the students and the campus. Sixty-seven rounds were fired in thirteen seconds.
Students and faculty sought cover and tried to dive out of the way of the National Guard’s bullets. Bill Schroder was shot at this location, only to die later. He was never part of the protest. Sandra Scheuer, also killed that day, was walking to class when she was shot through the throat.
Wounded student John Cleary was attended to by other Kent State students, including a Vietnam veteran. They saved his life. Following the public outcry against the events that transpired at the Ohio university, the National Guard was forced to reassess their crowd control measures following the incident. The Army has since developed less than lethal methods of dispersing demonstrators.
Lush Animal Testing Exhibit
In April 2012, Lush’s London flagship store hosted a protest against animal testing featuring 24-year-old performance artist Jacqueline Traide. She agreed to go through the process of testing that is done to animals in the cosmetics industry.
While tied up and force fed, Traide was not actually injected with any chemicals, nor were the “electrodes” live. However, their mock usage mirrors some studies done to animals in testing facilities.
Some cosmetic companies test eye makeup on animals. Here, products are forced into Traide’s eyes.
Traide went as far as having a strip of hair shaved off for the demonstration. Seeing a human go through the torture of cosmetics testing makes the treatment of animals more tangible.
Self-Immolation For Buddhist Rights
Source: Death And Taxes Magazine
Thích Quang Duc, seen in this photo, was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in Saigon on June 11, 1963 in protest of the Catholic South Vietnamese government’s treatment of Buddhists. His actions would inspire other political protestors to follow suit.
Source: The Telegraph
Self-immolation describes the act of killing oneself as a sacrifice. Often used as a form of extreme political protest, at least 125 monks, nuns and Buddhist supporters have self-immolated in China since 2009 to protest China’s occupation of Tibet.
Source: The Daily Beast
Suicide is often considered a last-ditch option in any society, but to the Buddhists, this is a sacrifice that may prevent the immolated from being reincarnated. Seen here, a Tibetan monk engulfed in flames marches through the streets of New Delhi protesting the Chinese president’s visit to the country on March 26, 2012.
Source: The Daily Beast
Tibetan protestors clash with police over the occupation of their lands. Buddhist tenets require followers to be peaceful and respect all life. Not wanting to hurt any other human, they are left with self-immolation as their act of extreme protest.
Source: Irra Waddy
Tibetan supporters carry mock coffins through the streets of Beijing to mourn those who have died from self-immolation.
FEMEN Protests Against Violence Towards Women In Istanbul
FEMEN is a feminist social activism group founded in Ukraine in 2008. On March 8, 2012, International Women’s Day, they took to the streets of Istanbul to protest acid attacks and the treatment of women in Turkey. Turkey is home to persistently high levels of domestic violence that find themselves increasingly embedded within the Turkish social fabric. Case in point? A male contestant on a dating show admitted to killing his first wife and later axing a lover to death.
FEMEN’s trademark approach is to go topless while protesting. Using nudity as a method for spreading information is effective in conservative nations due to its inherent shock value.
The FEMEN protestors used makeup to mimic the effects of acid burns. They also painted on bruises and wounds to draw attention to domestic violence issues in Turkey, where it’s reported that 40% of women are affected.
Photographers surround the protestors, snapping pictures and recording video. The Turkish police eventually arrested the protestors.
Dragged away kicking and screaming, a FEMEN protestor fights until the end. FEMEN members claim they have been intimidated by the Ukrainian government and have been subject to death threats.