Protect the Protest Campaign

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The right to protest for human rights is under unprecedented and growing threat across all regions of the world. From Russia to Sri Lanka, France to Senegal, Iran to Nicaragua, and here in the United States, governments are suppressing organized protests for human rights. That includes laws to restrict the right to protest; the misuse of force, the expansion of unlawful mass and targeted surveillance; internet shutdowns and online censorship; and abuse and stigmatization. People who are marginalized and discriminated against are disproportionately impacted.

Amnesty International’s Protect the Protest campaign was launched in July 2022 to stop the attacks on peaceful protesters, join with those targeted and support the causes of social movements pushing for human rights change. Join us!

The Trade in Tools of Repression

As part of our broader campaign to Protect the Protest, Amnesty International is supporting efforts toward negotiating a Torture-Free Trade Treaty, which is currently being discussed at the UN. It would aim to prohibit the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive law enforcement equipment and control the trade in equipment that can be used for torture and other forms of ill-treatment. This includes crowd control items often used against protesters, such as tear gas, batons and rubber bullets. While a patchwork of regional law and standards regulates some of this trade, the absence of international standards has prevented the emergence of a comprehensive and coherent global response. It’s essential that activists and human rights advocates push the U.S. negotiating team to embrace a strong international agreement to restrict the trade in these dangerous items.

HAYRI TUNC/AFP via Getty Images


The Saturday Mothers

Gustavo Gatica, 22, a Chilean student blinded in both eyes by police rubber bullets in a protest last year, poses for a photo in Santiago, Chile, February 5, 2020. Gustavo Gatica is a psychology student, living in Santiago, Chile. On 8 November 2019, he attended a protest during mass demonstrations across the country over rising inequality. Police violently repressed the protest Gustav attended, opening fire on demonstrators with riot shotguns. Gustavo was struck with pellets in both eyes and was permanently blinded. Police opened an internal investigation into the shooting but concluded that no one in the institution could be held responsible for Gustav’s injuries. Calling for justic on this case could spearhead more investigations into chain of command responsibility in Chile, setting a precedent that paves the way for hundreds of cases demanding and achieving justice for human rights violations in the 2019 protests. Gustav told us “I gave my eyes, so that Chile would wake up and see.”


Gustavo Gatica

Chow Hang-tung, barrister and a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, poses during a photo session in Hong Kong on March 21, 2021. (Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP) (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Hong Kong

Chow Hang-Tung

Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova were arrested on 10 June 2020 and charged with falsifying their abduction and torture at the hands of suspected state security agents after they were arrested at a roadblock guarded by the police and army at Warren Park. Their arrest followed their abduction after they led a demonstration organized by MDC-Alliance Youth against the authorities’ failure to provide social protection for the poor during the current COVID-19 lockdown on 13 May 2020.


Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova


Vahid Afkari

Amnesty members and supporters join the women's march in Washington DC, 21 January, 2017.

press release

Protect the Protest Campaign Launch


sri lanka

Protect the Protest


Protest Rights Under Threat

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images


The World is Watching: Mass Violations by U.S. Police of Black Lives Matter Protesters’ Rights

Minneapolis State Troopers, backed up by a Bearcat tactical vehicle, disperse a rally against the murder of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody, in front of the Minneapolis Police Department Precinct 5, in Minneapolis, MN, on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Rage over the killing of Floyd, an unarmed black man, exploded in recent days in Minneapolis, causing widespread protests as well as looting and arson, leading to increasing unrest on Friday night. Credit: Victor J. Blue

policing protests

Guidance for Law Enforcement

SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images


Losing the Peace:

U.S. Police Failures to Protect Protesters from Violence


Use of Force: Policing in the USA



Tear Gas: An Investigation

Photo by Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images


Protect the Protest, Stop “SLAPPS”