Nonviolent Action Method #130: Removal of Signs and Placemarks

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Removal of Signs and Placemarks

This technique involves removing, altering or replacing street signs, public transportation signs, and other placemarkers. Doing so can temporarily mislead, hinder or delay the movement of troops or foreign policemen, with both practical and psychological impacts.

In 1968, in response to reforms within the Czech Communist Party, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia—prompting mass nonviolent resistance. One of the tactics used by demonstrators was to create confusion by “removing” (in this case, painting over) their own street signs.

(Editor’s Note: This week, we are featuring five different methods of nonviolent protest as described in Gene Sharp’s book The Politics of Nonviolent Action. If you want to read ESA’s entire catalogue of methods, you may do so here, or download the full list of 198 methods here.)

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