Stewart Prest discusses the purpose and effectiveness of protests

June 24, 2022

On June 23rd, 2022, Dr. Stewart Prest spoke to Radio NL about the purpose and effectiveness of protests. The purpose of a protest may be twofold:

“Protests, as much as anything, are often a battle for public opinion,” he says. “First of all, to raise awareness about an issue. Then, to try to convince the audience of what the right course of action is.”

However, it’s clear that while the public may certainly become more knowledgeable about an issue through the mechanism of protest, it won’t necessarily be convinced that the protestors are on the right side of that issue.

Protestors may also hope to change the actions of politicians and policy, but Prest says it’s unlikely that a politician will respond directly to a protest.

“We just have to look at the experience of the truckers’ protests in downtown Ottawa to see that the politicians in power, the Liberals, were unwilling to respond directly to the demands of the organizers. However, at the same time, we did see a new conversation around the place of mandates as the result of that action.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in these media interviews belong solely to the interviewees, and not necessarily to Simon Fraser University's Department of Political Science.