Does a protest serve its purpose in a democracy?

Protests play an imperative role in the civic, political, economic, social, and cultural life of democratic societies. Protests have inspired a positive change in social structures and the advancement of human rights throughout history. They enable individuals and groups to express their opinions and grievances, to expose the flaws in governance and demand that the authorities rectify their actions and are held accountable for them. Protests especially benefit the marginalised people in a society as it provides them with a medium that can be accessed by like-minded people to make their problems heard as a whole. We need to understand that protests occur when citizens feel that other avenues of debate and discourse have been closed to them. Through demonstrations, citizens bring into effect the fundamental rights that have been given to them by the democracies they live in. The right to freedom of speech, to express oneself freely, to mobilise freely, etc. are the ones that make a democracy. A healthy democracy cannot exist without dissent and protests, and this is proved when we see that states, where the government is despotic, fascist, and totalitarian, have often resorted to crushing activities of dissent and have silenced and killed individuals who have opposed the rule of such nature. Throughout history, we have witnessed that some of the greatest achievements that have paved the way for an equal global society have been because of protests and activities of dissent. The granting of the right to vote to women, of civil and political rights for the people of colour, legalisation of marriage for the people of the LGBTQ+ society, etc. was all possible only because people in huge numbers came together to protest and made sure that the voices of people of the marginalised communities and those who were wronged were heard.

Though protesters must realise that on no ground can they resort to violence against the police, bystanders, or to the destruction of property. The right to gather and protest is a fundamental right given by the constitution of a democracy, and in no manner should it be misused. Every citizen needs to understand that their rights run parallel to their duties. In short, yes, protests do serve their purpose in democracies, and citizens must always demand and defend their rights, seeking greater social control of their governments and by leading political innovation.