India's Mahatma Gandhi epitomized the utilization of peaceful resistance and peaceful protest to influence beneficial change. Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. of the United States(US), adopted Gandhi's non-violence philosophy to invoke social, political and economic change for Blacks during the Civil Rights struggles in the 1960s.
Both Gandhi and King remain synonymous with non-violence and peaceful protest. While both men advocated and practiced non-violence, there was never a shortage of violence directed at them and their followers. Many died and were maimed because of their non-violent stances. Yet, both Gandhi and King, rebutted advise to use violence to counter the violence perpetrated against them and their followers.
Ironically, both leaders became victims of violence - Gandhi, assassinated on January 30, 1948, at New Delhi and King at Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968.
While both leaders achieved considerable changes for their people, no non-violent movement has come close in recent times to reaching such highs. Peaceful protest is observed and neglected in modern times. Not much action is given to the concerns of peaceful protesters. There are talks, discussions and debates, but largely, protesting policies often remain in place.
Peaceful protests have been violently shut down in recent times, in China, in Ukraine, in Syria and in Egypt to name a few.
Protests in this era of a Donald Trump administration appear to be on tract to be seen, heard, discussed and debated, but with no heeding of the protesting messages. However, as peaceful and non-violent protests remain obeyed tenets of democracy, the question still arises: Is modern peaceful protest futile?