Black Lives Matter Protesters ‘Overwhelmingly Peaceful’, Harvard Research Finds

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Black Lives Matter Protesters 'Overwhelmingly Peaceful', Harvard Research FindsPA Images

The number of Black Lives Matter protests across the globe has increased significantly over the past 12 months, and now research has found the demonstrations are ‘overwhelmingly peaceful’.

A new study from researchers at Harvard, which revealed how the BLM marches of 2020 were ‘remarkably nonviolent’, corrects the false yet prevailing narrative that such demonstrations were ‘overtaken by rioting and vandalism or violence’.


In cases where there was violence, it was very often the case that it was instigated by police officers or counter protesters rather than the protesters themselves, the study suggests

Black Lives Matter march (PA Images)PA Images

The authors of the study, from the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, wrote:

Such claims are false. Incidents in which there was protester violence or property destruction should be regarded as exceptional – and not representative of the uprising as a whole.

In many instances, police reportedly began or escalated the violence, but some observers nevertheless blame the protesters.

The claim that the protests are violent – even when the police started the violence – can help local, state and federal forces justify intentionally beating, gassing or kettling the people marching, or reinforces politicians’ calls for ‘law and order’.


After having collected and analysed data from 7,305 events, researchers found that 96.3% of protests involved no damage to property or injuries to police officers. In 97.7% of cases, no injuries were reported among protesters, bystanders or police officers.

Injuries among police officers were reported in 1% of the events. An officer killed in California was allegedly shot by members of the far-right ‘boogaloo’ group, not by BLM protesters.

BLM protesters (PA Images)PA Images

The deaths of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during this time period are understood to be unrelated to the BLM protests.


According to the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, it’s important to correct the narrative of ‘protests vs. policing’ due to the long term effects this can have on factors such as election outcomes, public policy and public attitudes toward social justice movements.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website

Topics: News, Black Lives Matter, BLM, Now, Police, violence


Harvard Radcliffe Institute
  1. Harvard Radcliffe Institute

    Black Lives Matter Protesters Were Overwhelmingly Peaceful, Our Research Finds

Julia Banim
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