From anti-neoliberal protests around globalisation through to the Occupy movement, environmental direct action and mass anti-austerity demonstrations, there has been an explosion of grassroots activism that has moved in tandem with the wave of crises facing western-driven free market capitalism since 2008.
It is interesting to note how much UK media attention, following protests against student fee rises yesterday (9 December 2010), has focused on the admittedly alarming experience of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla when the car they were travelling in was damaged - compared to the life-threatening ordeal of Alfie Meadows.
Human rights groups across the world have condemned the execution of two men arrested during protests that followed Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were hanged last week.
The conviction of five Muslim men who demonstrated at a home-coming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment in Luton is an infringement of free speech and free protest, says veteran human rights activist Peter Tatchell.
It is understandable that some people feel sceptical about demonstrations in the wake of events like the G20 summit, says Simon Barrow. But mobilisation for change needs to be seen as part of a larger process of change, not as an act of disconnected idealism.