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Protect the Protest: Using Our Rights to Freedom of Assembly and Expression

Investigate the concept of protesting as a tool for social change, as well as how the freedom to protest is under threat.

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Images of various protests and the words 'Protect the Protest'
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Examine the power of protest and its part in protecting human rights

Protesting is a powerful tool for promoting and defending human rights, used throughout history to change mindsets and agendas.

On this three-week course from Amnesty International, you’ll investigate the power of protest as a force for change and explore current challenges to the right to protest.

Explore our fundamental right to protest

Protest has a long history across the UK. Things we take for granted today, such as an eight-hour work day or a woman’s right to vote, were the result of protesters standing up for their beliefs and speaking out.

On this course, you’ll learn what is meant by our right to protest and examine protest within the UK and around the world.

With this overview, you’ll be able to define freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and discuss the right to protest within historical and global contexts.

Identify challenges and restrictions to the right to protest

Many acts of protest, throughout history and today, have been met with repression, punishment, and prevention measures.

You’ll examine the steps taken to limit protests, including criminalisation and digital restrictions. You’ll also learn how proportionate policing is key to protecting and upholding our right to protest.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to explain how individual experiences and perspectives of protest can differ and the reasons why.

Investigate how political and social activism can help defend the right to protest

In the final week of this course, you’ll focus on how you can defend the right to protest, learning practical tips and ideas for organisation and participation.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a broad understanding of protest as a human right, and have gained the tools to feel empowered to take part in a protest yourself.


  • Week 1

    What is the right to protest?

    • Welcome to the course 

      Protest allows people to air grievances, express opinions, call for change and publicly demand accountability. This is especially important for those who are poorly represented or marginalised.

    • Introduction to the right to protest

      Protests are an important way for people to come together and generate public debate and political engagement.

    • The power of protest

      Protests can have a lasting impact on those who attend, their targets and society at large.

    • Celebration of success

      Congratulations! You have successfully completed the first week of the Protect the Protest course.

  • Week 2

    What are the challenges to the Right to Protest?

    • Challenges to our right to protest

      In this week of the course, you will learn about how the right to protest is threatened and interfered with by new laws, undue restrictions by authorities and problematic policing approaches.

    • Restrictions on the right to protest

      You have already learned that restrictions on the right to protest are sometimes justified if they pass the three-part test, but all too often states violate the right to protest with undue restrictions.

    • The responsibility of the police

      In the handling of public assemblies, police and law enforcement have the duty to facilitate and protect the right to protest.

    • Celebration of success

      Congratulations! You have successfully completed the second week of the Protect the Protest course.

  • Week 3

    How can the right to protest be defended?

    • Feeling inspired to protest

      In this final week of the course, you will focus on different ways you can defend the right to protest, and be equipped with practical tips on how to organise or participate in a protest.

    • Protesting

      There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to protests. They need to be assessed case by case. The following tips are intended for protests with clear risks or threats. Not all will apply to your context.

    • Celebration of success

      We hope the course fulfilled your expectations! Take this last quiz to check what you have learnt and then find out about what you can do next to continue your learning journey.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 25 Jul 2022 - 15 Aug 2022

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the scope of the right to protest
  • Reflect on the power of protest
  • Summarise the challenges to the right to protest around the UK
  • Identify how people experience violations of the right to protest differently
  • Identify responsible and rights-respecting policing practises
  • Apply what you have learned and feel empowered to attend a protest
  • Engage with actions to defend the right to protest

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for everyone who wants to understand their right to protest. It is suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about key human rights within the UK and around the world.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Amnesty International UK

We are Amnesty International. We speak out for anyone and everyone whose freedom and dignity are under threat.


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