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Civil disorder, also known as civil unrest, is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe unrest that is caused by a group of people. Civil disorder is also described as “any public disturbance involving acts of violence by assemblages of three or more persons, which cause an immediate danger of or results in damage or injury to the property or person of any other individual.” Civil disturbance can include a form of protest against major socio-political problems. It is essentially the breakdown of orderly society, of which examples can include: illegal parades, sit-ins, riots, sabotage, and other forms of crime. Even on occasions where it is typically intended to be a demonstration to the public or the government, such can escalate into general chaos.
Civil disorder can take many forms such as small gatherings or mass groups of people often blocking access to a specific building or disrupting day-to-day activities. Creating loud noises, shouting, or marching down public roads or streets are generally the disruptions that occur in civil disorder. The severity of civil disorder can get out of hand leading to a riot.
Impact of Civil disorder
Citizens not directly involved in a civil disorder may have their lives significantly disrupted. Their ability to work, enjoy recreation and in some cases, obtain necessities may be jeopardised. Disruption of infrastructure such as homes and buildings may occur during very severe events. Public utilities such as water, fuel and electricity may be temporarily unavailable, as well as public infrastructure for communication. Occasionally, the disruption of such services may be the original cause of the disorder.
On a more positive impact, Civil unrest may lead to a major change in politics depending on what the main cause of the disorder may have been.
- Revolution '67 Film website - Documentary about the Newark, New Jersey race riots of 1967
- Brazil uprising points to rise of leaderless networks
- D.J. FitzGerald - text published by Elsevier Health Sciences 2006, 952 pages, ISBN 0323032532