A demonstration is an event in which a large group of people gathers to show their support for a change in the law. It is an informal pressure for change, and includes rallies, strikes, and marches.

In order to be most effective, a large group needs to be present, thus showing the existence of a significant demand for change. A recent example of a large-scale demonstration is the rally on Perth’s Cottesloe Beach, in which an estimated 6,000 demonstrators expressed their disapproval of Western Australia’s “catch-and-kill shark policy”.1 So far, this demonstration has not led to any legislative change, but has gained media and public attention.

Effectiveness of demonstrations


  • Can be very effective if there are many peaceful people taking part
  • Communicate the views of a number of people at once
  • Likely to gain media attention and raise awareness of the cause
  • Can serve an educative purpose for the community, whom might otherwise be ignorant of the issue


  • If there are not many demonstrators, parliament may dismiss them as a vocal minority
  • Can lead to aggression and violence, which virtually guarantees that parliament will not seriously consider the demand for change

See also:



  1. ABC News, 2 Feb 2014, “WA shark cull: Thousands rally at Cottesloe Beach as catch-and-kill protests ramp up”,