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67 Pictures Of Protest That Defined The Decade

From #MeToo and Black Lives Matter to the Arab Spring and Hong Kong protests, here are the tremendous moments in activism that have defined this past decade.

Posted on December 7, 2019, at 9:12 a.m. ET

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The 2010s offered unprecedented visibility to civic and political issues as the rise of social media fueled protests around the world and mobilized large groups of people behind their causes. In the US, hashtags like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter became rallying cries for social justice; internationally, protesters in the Arab Spring and Hong Kong demonstrations used social media to spread information and work against the governments trying to silence them.

While the internet has helped shed light on these causes, it's also provided a new platform for hate and bigotry in the form of ultranationalism, tribalism, and white supremacy. As we enter the next decade, issues like climate change, internet privacy, and gun violence have gained traction among a new generation of activists who are sure to shift the discourse in the coming years.

To highlight the tremendous moments in activism that have defined this past decade, BuzzFeed News combed through thousands of pictures to highlight the ones that best represent the events that have shaped the world as we know it today. While this list could not include every major protest of the last decade, we attempted to collect pictures that spoke to larger social shifts. Here are the most powerful protest photos from the 2010s.

Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images

Supporters of the tea party movement demonstrate outside the US Capitol against the Affordable Care Act, March 20, 2010.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Veteran Evelyn Thomas is arrested after handcuffing herself to a fence at the White House, Nov. 15, 2010. Thomas and 12 others were arrested in their protest against the "don't ask, don't tell" law that prevented openly queer people from serving in the US military.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Taalibah Ines kisses a coffin while joining a group of AIDS activists marking World AIDS Day by holding a funeral in front of the White House, Dec. 1, 2010.

Miguel Villagran / Getty Images

Anti-nuclear activists march through a field after a demonstration against nuclear waste in Dannenberg, Germany, Nov. 6, 2010.

Allison Joyce / Getty Images

Occupy Wall Street activists demonstrate in Times Square, Dec. 17, 2011.

Andrew Lichtenstein / Getty Images

People gather for an Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park in New York City's Financial District, Sept. 30, 2011.

Wayne Tilcock / AP

Lt. John Pike, an officer with the University of California, Davis, uses pepper spray on student Occupy protesters, Nov. 18, 2011.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Protesters gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Feb. 1, 2011. Tens of thousands of people assembled to demand the ouster of then-president Hosni Mubarak.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Protesters carry an injured man during clashes with riot police near Tahrir Square, Jan. 29, 2011.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Muslims protest against the killing of Osama bin Laden outside the US Embassy in London, May 6, 2011.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Muslim protester Farzana Sabrina waves a US flag at an anti-war rally in Union Square in New York City, April 9, 2011. Thousands of protesters called for the US to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a large Muslim contingent protested against anti-Muslim prejudice.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Demonstrators participate in a SlutWalk in Glasgow, June 4, 2011. Glasgow's first-ever SlutWalk was organized to raise awareness about commonly held attitudes toward rape and sexual assault.

Orlando Sentinel / Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators march in Sanford, Florida, during an NAACP rally demanding justice following the shooting of Trayvon Martin, March 31, 2012.

Handout . / Reuters

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky, a supporter of the jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot, sews his mouth closed in protest outside the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, July 23, 2012. The band members, three women punk rockers, derided Putin in a protest in the country's main cathedral.

Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

Protesters chant anti-police slogans during a protest in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India, against the government's reaction to recent rape incidents in the country, Dec. 22, 2012.

Tibrina Hobson / FilmMagic

Protesters with PETA and the LGBTQ community demonstrate against Chick-fil-A's views on LGBTQ issues in Hollywood, California, Aug. 1, 2012.

Yves Herman / Reuters

Activists from Femen, a Ukrainian women's rights group, spray water on André-Joseph Léonard, the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and primate of Belgium, (left) during a conference at a Brussels university, April 23, 2013.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

Anti-government protesters guard a barricade designed to keep police from evicting them from Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 13, 2013. Thousands of people protested against the government due to a decision by then-president Viktor Yanukovych to suspend a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of incentives from Russia.

Afp / Getty Images

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at riot police in Kyiv, Jan. 22, 2014. Ukrainian police stormed protesters' barricades in Kyiv as violent clashes erupted.

Osman Orsal / Reuters

A Turkish riot police officer uses tear gas on people protesting the destruction of trees in a park in Taksim Square, Istanbul, May 28, 2013.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Tear gas rains down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air after a demonstration over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 17, 2014.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

More than 1,000 demonstrators chant "hands up, don't shoot!" on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery a day after the Ferguson grand jury decision to not indict officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case in Washington, DC, Nov. 25, 2014.

Steve Schapiro / Getty Images

Children march in Chicago to protest against gun violence, July 31, 2013.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Umbrellas are opened as tens of thousands of people come to the main protest site one month after Hong Kong police used tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters, Oct. 28, 2014.

Alexandros Avramidis / Reuters

Riot police clash with masked protesters occupying the Labor Center of Thessaloniki, Greece, Dec. 6, 2014. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters, who hurled back Molotov cocktails and set ATMs and garbage cans on fire in towns around Greece during marches held on the anniversary of the 2008 police killing of a teenager.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

After riot police launched tear gas toward anti-government protesters, a man carries a woman affected by the substance in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 22, 2014.

Marco Ugarte / AP

People protest the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico City, Oct. 22, 2014. Then-president Enrique Peña Nieto defended the widely criticized investigation of the 43 students' disappearance, but conceded that his administration has failed to bring the country peace.

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid (left) and Colin Kaepernick kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, California, Sept. 12, 2016.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Demonstrators climb on a destroyed police car during violent protests following Freddie Gray's funeral in Baltimore, April 27, 2015. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switchblade on April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody.

Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

Both LGBTQ and anti-gay activists protest outside the US Supreme Court, April 28, 2015.

Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the US Capitol, July 28, 2015.

Laurent Cipriani / AP

Hundreds of pairs of shoes are displayed at the Place de la République in Paris as part of a symbolic and peaceful rally called "Paris sets off for climate," Nov. 29, 2015.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Snow covers the Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Nov. 30, 2016. Native Americans and activists from around the country gathered at the camp for several months to try to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Stephanie Keith / Reuters

A protester cries while watching a demonstration on Thanksgiving Day during a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Nov. 24, 2016.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Duane Ehmer carries a US flag as he rides his horse on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, Jan. 7, 2016. An armed anti-government militia group occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters to protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson.

Bloomberg / Getty Images

An open carry advocate holds a gun while demonstrating during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016.

Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters in Louisiana, July 9, 2016.

Jack Taylor / Getty Images

Pro-Brexit demonstrators hold Union Flags as they protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Nov. 23, 2016. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would not delay triggering Article 50, the formal process of leaving the European Union, but wanted to avoid a "cliff edge."

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate against the EU referendum result outside the Houses of Parliament in London, June 28, 2016.


Ramin Talaie / Getty Images

Graduating student Andrea Lorei holds a sign in protest during the 125th Stanford University commencement ceremony on June 12, 2016, in Stanford, California. The ceremony was held amid controversy about an on-campus rape case and its sentencing.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Protesters walk during the Women's March on Washington, DC, Jan. 21, 2017. Large crowds attended the rally a day after President Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US president.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

White nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right clash with counter-protesters during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A Trump supporter shouts during an argument with anti-Trump protesters near Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 14, 2017.

View Press / Getty Images

A woman holds a placard as she marches in protest of President Trump's decision on DACA in front of a Trump Hotel in New York City, Sept. 9, 2017.

Laura Buckman / Reuters

People gather to pray in baggage claim during a protest against the travel ban imposed by Trump's executive order, at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Jan. 29, 2017.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

Demonstrators march against Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2017.

Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

Uber drivers protest against legislation threatening the company's business model in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 30, 2017.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stand together on stage with other young victims of gun violence at the conclusion of the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, DC, March 24, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, including students, teachers, and parents gathered in Washington for the anti-gun violence rally organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Students participate in a protest against gun violence outside the White House in Washington, DC, Feb. 21, 2018.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Protesters rally against then-nominee for the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, DC, Oct. 4, 2018.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Activists march and rally against Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Trump administration's immigration policies, near the ICE offices in New York City, June 29, 2018.

John Moore / Getty Images

Anti-immigrant protesters take part in a demonstration in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 18, 2018.

Chris Mcgrath / Getty Images

Protesters chant slogans in opposition to a new fuel tax during the "yellow vests" demonstration in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Catalan pro-independence protesters gather during a demonstration in Barcelona, Oct. 26.

Rajanish Kakade / AP

Members of Lok Sangharsh Morcha, an organization of farmers and laborers across Maharashtra state, participate in a protest in Mumbai on Nov. 22, 2018. The farmers made several demands, including for loan waivers, drought compensation, and the transfer of forest rights to the tribal community.

Bloomberg / Getty Images

Teachers and demonstrators hold signs during a rally inside the Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City, April 3, 2018. Hundreds of teachers crowded into the building to demand additional funding for the state's public schools.

Noah Berger / AP

Workers protest against Google's handling of sexual misconduct allegations at the company's Mountain View, California, headquarters, Nov. 1, 2018.

Saul Loeb / Getty Images

One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, to call attention to the hundreds of millions of fake accounts spreading disinformation on the social media platform, April 10, 2018.

Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers brief remarks surrounded by other student environmental advocates during a strike to demand action be taken on climate change outside the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 13.

Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Student environmental advocates participate in a strike to demand action be taken on climate change outside the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 13.

Natalie Behring / Getty Images

Women's rights activists hold signs at a rally to oppose abortion bans happening throughout the United States, at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, May 21.

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Large crowds of protesters gather in central Hong Kong in a show of strength against the government over a divisive plan to allow extraditions to China, June 12.

Hector Retamal / Getty Images

An ambulance is surrounded by thousands of protesters dressed in black during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong, June 16.

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Alaa Salah addresses protesters during a demonstration for economic reforms and the resignation of then-president Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 10.

Agencia Makro / Getty Images

Thousands of protesters gather at Plaza Baquedano to demonstrate their support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 23.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Rapper Bad Bunny (holding the flag), singer Ricky Martin (in the black hat), and rapper Residente (in the blue hat) join demonstrators protesting against Puerto Rico's then-governor Ricardo Rosselló in Old San Juan, July 17. There were calls for Rosselló to step down after it was revealed that he and top aides were part of a private chat group that contained misogynistic and anti-gay messages.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye / Getty Images

Iraqi protesters gather at Tahrir Square during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in the capital Baghdad, Oct. 31.


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