I'm looking for a word or phrase that I'd use to indicate a "planned operational" kind of protest, rather than a "carry placards and form a crowd" kind of protest.

The nearest thing that comes to mind is flash mobs, where people have secretly preagreed to suddenly converge on some place, do a thing, and leave. But that's not the right thing here.

The kind of thing I have in mind is if, say, 5 people agreed a statue was offensive and they decided they'll arrive at 5 am on the morning of some major public event, surround it with plywood, graffiti the plywood as a protest, and leave.

Or they knew that a group of white supremacists would be at a BLM protest and agreed they'd all turn up with milkshakes to douse them, then hide them by standing in front with their own (larger) antifascist banners for the 3 hour duration of the event.

One of them might say to a friend, "How would you feel about doing a _____ (kind of protest) and cover that statue from public view next month?", or "I'm thinking of organising a ______ protest against the fascists next time".

If there's a difference US/UK, then UK slang preferred.

  • In the first example, is the event scheduled for later a protest too? Are you asking about a protest scheduled as a reaction to another protest?
    – Laurel
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 11:55
  • @laurel - not necessarily. The key point is, its not a protest of in the format "We oppose X, boo, hiss, placards, march or stand there, maybe shout". Its a protest of the format "We oppose X, and plan to take action so X is itself in fact targeted and will be actively neutralised/negated/removed/hidden/made a mockery in some way , rather than just banners stating our view on it."
    – Stilez
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 17:47
  • 1
    It could be a militant action. It could be street theater. It could be a non-violent protest. It could be a something-in (based on sit-in). Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 8:13

1 Answer 1


It can simply be called a "planned demonstration/protest":

He later called off planned demonstrations, citing his respect for the law and wanting to prevent incident and possible casualties brought on by the protest. Retrieved from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 - Creative commons. Source URL: Wikipedia - Boris Miksic

It was also decided to carry out the planned demonstrations as planned. Retrieved from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0- Creative commons. Source URL: Wikipedia - protests during the EU summit in Gothenburg 2001

To accomplish this, authorities have ordered security forces to the scene of planned demonstrations, taking a proactive approach rather than reacting once protests actually break out. Retrieved from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 - Creative commons

Source: Collins Dictionary - planned demonstration

  • 1
    This might be the best possible answer (I suspect it is), but "planned demonstration/protest" could also include a planned march, which the OP doesn't want.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 11:44
  • Very specifically I'm looking to reflect that its an action against something. But "planned demonstration" is the wrong vibe, and "direct action" tends to suggest something much more forceful and perhaps violent or permanent? But at the least, I want to very clearly distinguish "action taken to target a direct specific thing and negate/repurpose/counter it", vs a "general protest, banners and march". So "planned demonstration" and really most kinds of "demonstration" (planned or otherwise) much more suggest placards and banners opposing something, rather than action of the kinds I've exampled
    – Stilez
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 17:49
  • 1
    A possible phrase is a “hit and run” protest.
    – Xanne
    Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 1:40

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