Nonviolent Revolutions
Since 2000


“People power is not imported, it's homegrown. External aid can help, but it's neither necessary nor sufficient. With unity, planning and nonviolent discipline all harnessed to the determination of people to be free, oppression can be defeated.”

Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall



Some Historical Examples of Nonviolent Alternatives to War


•Russian People’s Strike in 1905

•Indian campaign for independence from British rule (1920s-40s)

•Denmark resistance to Nazi Occupation 1940s (also resistance in Norway, the Netherlands, elsewhere)

•El Salvador in 1944, removal of General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez

•Guatemala in 1944

•Ghana’s independence, led by Kwame Nkrumah,  in the 1950s

•U.S. Civil Rights Desegregation Campaigns (1960s)

•South African Campaign Against Apartheid (1950s-90s)

•Iran: Overthrow of the Shah (1978-9)

•Poland’s Solidarity movement (1980s)

•Chile’s overthrow of Pinochet (1980s)

•The Philippines in 1986 (Marcos) and 2001 (Estrada)

•Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the 1980s

•Czechoslovakia's “velvet revolution” in 1989

•Russia’s nonviolent resistance to a coup in 1991

•Estonia’s “Singing Revolution” in 1991



Georgia in 2003


•Rose Revolution pressured Eduard Shevardnadze to resign after fraudulent parliamentary elections

•Resistance group: Kmara.

•A guiding slogan of the protests: "It's forbidden for a Georgian to beat a Georgian.”


Ukraine in 2004


•"Pora has declared from the first days of its existence that it is not affiliated to any political party or person in Ukraine or in world politics. The campaign has declared that its activists are fighting for a democratic Ukrainian society, for a transparent electoral process. The long-term goal is a democratic, active civil society in Ukraine. The short term goal is democratic elections."

•"We must not applaud to such changes in any country if we seek democracy. All changes should be made in line with the constitution. Changing power through street rallies is not a democratic method," Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov


Kyrgyzstan in 2005


•Tulip Revolution

•KelKel: "renaissance and shining of the good".

•U.S. government: $13.3 million in 2004 for “pro-democracy” programs.


Lebanon in 2005


•Cedar Revolution

•Prime Minister Rafik Hariri assasinated

•The new Pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned 2 weeks later

•Syria pulled out all troops

   "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world". Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt in the Washington Post,



Common Elements in “Color Revolutions”


•Strong youth movements with decentralized organization

•Recent examples and strategy an increasing part of people’s awareness

•Sparked by unfair (monitored) elections

•Training available in NV strategy

•Ambivalence towards outside support

•Small organizations flexible, spontaneous, and organized enough to expand to include other regions, other sectors (labor, etc.)

•Relied on police, military, and government officials switching sides – worked to befriend and invite

•Relied on the Internet