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BIG LIST: Unusual Protests

Thursday 15 September 2011, 11:58AM

Whether it\'s hurling poo, eating cat or mutilating genitals, some people are just plain dedicated to the cause.

Whether it\'s hurling poo, eating cat or mutilating genitals, some people are just plain dedicated to the cause.


Blood red

Starting locally, in last year’s Red Shirt demonstrations in Bangkok, anti-government protesters approached the office of then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vajjajiva, dumping about 300 litres of human blood that had been donated for their cause.


Dedicated to the cause

In May 2009, an Egyptian man made probably the most dedicated protest in history, cutting off his own penis to express his displeasure at his parents’ choice of bride. The 25-year-old labourer from the village of Sheikh Eissa in southern Egypt, who also mutilated his testicles, was taken to hospital in a stable condition, but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member.


Name of the game

In late 2008, a 19-year-old woman from Virginia in the USA reportedly changed her name to a website address protesting animal dissection. The former Jennifer Thornburg – whose driver’s licence read Cutout after the name change – wanted to do something to protest animal dissections in schools. Her parents still call her Jennifer.


Butter up

In a protest that was mercilessly parodied on South Park, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society threw 24 litres of rotten butter at a Japanese harpoon whaling vessel in February 2009. Three of the whalers reportedly vomited from the rancid smell, but Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson insisted the attack was a reasonable way for the activists to send their message. Each to his own.


Shoe storm

Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi became an international hero after flinging both his shoes at then-US president George W Bush during a 2008 press conference. He shouted: “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog,” as he threw the first shoe, and: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” as he threw the second. Initially sentenced to three years in jail for his protest, he eventually served only nine months.

Hook, line and silver

Alice Newstead likes sharks. In fact she loves sharks. At least that’s what we’re assuming, because in a campaign against shark extinction, she pierced her skin with oversized fish hooks and hung from the ceiling of a Paris boutique. Alice painted her body silver to resemble a shark, before being hoisted into the air with the fishing hooks. The painful stunt went on for 15 minutes.

Showered in publicity

Less bizarre than funny (though still undeniably bizarre), protesters from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) decided to take a public shower on a busy Hollywood street to make a point on World Water Day about how much water was used by the meat industry. All well and good. Except the sight of two naked women in public is an obvious health hazard and caused a (relatively minor) traffic accident.


Epic protest of miniature proportions

The world’s smallest climate campaigners took over a Kingsnorth Power Plant replica at Legoland in California, decorating it with a tiny banner reading “Stop Climate Change”. Six one-inch-tall campaigners could be seen unfurling the banner, as tiny Lego police watched from the ground.


Making it stick

Dan Glass wanted to make sure his message to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stuck – so he poured some super glue in his palm before shaking Brown’s hand at an award ceremony. Glass, who was affiliated with climate change group Plane Stupid, said “I’ve just superglued myself to your arm. Don’t panic. This is a non-violent protest.” Mr Brown freed himself after about 30 seconds, and took the stunt in good humour.


QSI International School Phuket

Feline frenzy

Three journalism students from Denmark got their Facebook profiles deleted after posting graphic pictures of themselves butchering, cooking and eating a feral cat. The students, who partook in the stunt in what many called a misguided effort to draw attention to factory farming, say the cat was killed humanely and were surprised by the negative reaction from the public.


Got milk?

Some 2,500 farmers from across the European Union gathered in Brussels in October 2009, to protest at collapsing milk prices, spraying riot police with milk straight from cow udders and then coating them in hay fired from a silo. Milk supply in Europe exceeds demand and farmers claimed they were forced to sell their milk at prices below cost.


Whale of a time

In 2007, Greenpeace tried to force the Japanese government into a reality check by dumping a dead whale on the streets in front of the Japanese embassy in Berlin. Japanese whalers kill thousands of whales every year, defying an international ban through a loophole that allows whaling for “scientific” purposes. Japanese lawmakers were largely unperturbed by the whale carcass.


Bricks and mortar

Late last year, property developer Cameron Hope bricked up the front door of a Barclays branch in the UK after being turned down for a business loan. Mr Hope was supported by other local business owners as he built a 2.4m by 1.2m wall in front of the bank.

Phallic philanthropy

In July last year, an 80 metre monster penis was painted on a drawbridge in St Petersburg by activist group Voina. The group stated: “We have painted a giant phallus to show what the FSB and Interior Ministry are doing in terms of security.” Well, if a giant penis won’t get your message across, nothing will.

Clowning around

In June last year, one hundred professional clowns took to the streets of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, in protest against the killing of a bus passenger by two robbers dressed as clowns. Complete with oversized bow ties, tiny hats and big yellow trousers the clowns marched through the centre of the capital in an attempt to show citizens that real clowns “aren’t killers”.


Barking mad

In March 2007, a former South Korean army commando held a protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul to mark the anniversary of peaceful mass demonstrations against Japanese colonial rule that took place in 1919. Apparently he got the brilliant idea of bringing along five dog heads, which were taken from some of the dog meat markets in the city, and placing them on the pavement to symbolise Koreans who supported Japanese colonial rule.


Black swan

Controversial “artist” Mark McGowan took his dislike of the Queen to an extreme level – by eating a swan. McGowan was attempting to challenge “the upper classes who shoot game, but never eat it”. In similarly ridiculous and oddly targeted protests, Mr McGowan has sat in a bathtub full of baked beans with chips up his nose and sausages around his head while claiming to be the “defender of the full English breakfast”, and eaten chunks of a Corgi dog in protest against Prince Philip for hunting foxes.


Faecal point

Yes, this is indeed about a protest that involved hurling poo. The protesters were a group of South Korean cattle farmers, who were enraged that Korea’s Lotte supermarkets had decided to sell US beef. The photo opposite pretty much says it all – they’re throwing poo at a supermarket.



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