may be the largest demonstrations in the country’s history, with upwards
of 26million people participating.
The figures come from four recent polls – including one released by
Civis Analytics – that found that 15 million people to 26 million people
have been a part of demonstrations that spawned following the deaths of
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
‘I’ve never seen self-reports of protest participation that high for a
specific issue over such a short period,’ Neal Caren, associate
professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explained
to the New York Times.
In comparison, roughly three million to five million people came out for
the Woman’s March of 2017 on a single day. That event was highly
organized in contrast with BLM demonstrations, which have been much more
‘Really, it’s hard to overstate the scale of this movement,’ said Deva
Woodly, an associate professor of politics at the New School.
Civil rights marches in the 1960s were not nearly as big, the professor added.
‘If we added up all those protests during that period, we’re talking
about hundreds of thousands of people, but not millions,’ she said.
A review of international protests for independence by Erica Chenoweth, a
professor at Harvard Kennedy School, found that roughly 3.5 per cent of
a country’s population protest to unseat government leadership.
More than 4,700 demonstrations have happened in the United States since May 26, averaging out to roughly 140 per day.
‘The geographic spread of protest is a really important characteristic
and helps signal the depth and breadth of a movement’s support,’ said
Kenneth Andrews, a sociology professor at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Professor Woodly explained that the protests are taking place in such
vast numbers because activists are gaining guidance and framework for
their demonstrations from Black Lives Matter.