By Ben West
Recent protests throughout Sudan are the latest in an ongoing trend of protest movements around the world, from Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt to oil workers in Norway and opposition parties in Thailand. Protests have proven an effective strategy against autocratic regimes, political repression and austerity measures. Like with insurgency strategy, protests rely on underlying support from the population rather than on superior weapons. Both insurgency and protests are forms of asymmetric opposition in which the insurgents or protesters cannot succeed by using force to overwhelm the state, but must find (or create) and exploit specific weaknesses of the state.
But protest movements are not as aggressive as insurgencies. Violence is integral to insurgent strategy, but protest movements may be simply a negotiation tactic to extract concessions from a state or a corporation. Strikes are one of the most common forms of protest used to leverage labor resources for higher wages or more benefits. Thousands of protests, such as strikes, occur around the world every week. Most are small and insignificant outside the protesters' community. In order to address the geopolitical importance of protest movements, this analysis will focus on protests intended to create political change.