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Anti-war protests that work

5 min

For Ukraine: Resources on how to protest war in a way that might have an impact.

War has come to Europe once again.

Ukraine is being devastated. As of writing, dozens are already dead.

As an activist, I feel helpless. In an effort to do something positive, I've put together some thoughts and resources on how to protest the war in a way that might have an impact. It's trivial, but it's a start.

Please write to me on Twitter or email with anything you think should be on it, and I'll update the post.

OK, let's go.

Goal of the protest

Let's be brutally clear: there's little you can do in the short term to stop the war.

If you want to protest as a gesture to show what you believe, though – to do something about this disastrous war as opposed to nothing – that is as good a reason as any to show up.

But think strategically, too. A protest can help you rally people around something they can all agree on (stop the war). It can energise existing activists, and connect you with new ones.

If your action is successful, you might be able to build an activist team from it. A team with the right kind of organisers. A team that might be able to make a difference – however small – to the situation in Ukraine in the longer term.

Keep this goal imprinted in your mind when deciding a tactic below.


Do something fresh

To have impact, your protest must cut through the noise. It needs to provide creative tension; to give photojournalists something worth shooting, or generate visuals that stand out. So you have to do something different. In other words, ideally something more than banners, marches and speeches.

Every protest against war in Ukraine is valuable. But keeping the above in mind, I would have organised these a little differently:

Pick the right spot

Where should you do it? My top-line thought: your local Russian and American embassy – if you can get there. Or the residence of each ambassador.

Steps to build out your team

Steps to increase coverage of the protest

How to Take Photos at Protests Safely—and Responsibly
Before you pull out your camera and post to social media, here’s how to protect yourself and others.

Case studies

Which tactics should you use? Here are some valuable case studies on what works. Spend 20 minutes on any of them, and I'm confident you'll move closer to an idea that works for you.

Toolbox — Beautiful Trouble
Dive into the Beautiful Trouble toolbox, an interconnected web of ideas and creative best practices that puts the power of organizing for social change in your hands. Start anywhere and explore…
Violence & War
Search | Global Nonviolent Action Database

Visual resources

How to make graphics for invitations, posters, flyers etc.

Beautiful Free Images & Pictures | Unsplash
Beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project. Better than any royalty free or stock photos.

Organisational resources

Resources on how to organise and build a team for impact

Videos – Canvas

That's it. As mentioned, please write to me on Twitter or email with anything you think should be on this list.

Now let's do all we can to stop this catastrophic war.


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