It is argued that civil war and protests are mutually exclusive processes. However, the prevalence of protests and their proximity with or simultaneity to armed conflict contradicts this idea. Conflict and confrontation involve different types of interactions between the state and its opponents, which can involve protests, mass mobilization, clashes, and even armed conflict. Thus, we can understand conflict as existing in a continuum. Analyzing protests and protestors as related to armed conflict may serve to widen our understanding of conflict. This chapter presents the case for linking protest with a wider understanding of conflict, considering its links with other categories of contestation such as armed conflict. We can thus envision different types of contestation as being related. If we consider this possibility, we can then analyze processes of escalation and de-escalation between different expresions of contestation. This chapter reflects on the similarities and differences between different categories used to understand contestation, focusing on the categories of protests, civil conflict, and civil war. I claim that while a distinction between protests and armed violence is often made on the basis of the degree of violence involved in these processes, this in itself does not mean that these forms of conflict are disconnected. Through focusing on the nature of their political claims, we can understand these processes of contestation as related to each other. Thus, we can analyze how mass mobilization escalates into armed conflicts, and we also observe cases of post agreement scenarios where mass mobilization follows the signature of peace agreements (a de-escalation process). Evidence from the case ofSouth Africa is presented to illustrate this.

Díaz, F. A., Sr. (2019). Protests and Conflict. In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Global Security Studies (pp. 1–7). Retrieved from