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Die-in protest against 2003 invasion of Iraq in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

A die-in, sometimes known as a lie-in, is a form of protest in which participants simulate being dead.[1] Die-ins are a tactic that has been used by a variety of protest groups including animal rights activists,[2] peace activists, human rights activists,[3] anti-abortion activists,[4] AIDS activists,[5] gun control activists[6] and environmental activists.[7] Often, protestors occupy an area for a short time instead of being forced to leave by the police.

In the simplest form of a die-in, protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners.[7] The point of a die-in is to disrupt the flow of people on a street or sidewalk to grab the attention of passersby.[8]

In more complex forms, fake blood or blood-stained bandages are sometimes used, as well as simulated death throes and writhing from the protesters in an attempt to make the deaths appear more realistic. In other cases, protesters have surrounded the "bodies" in chalk outlines reminiscent of the troped outlines around murder victims. This has been done as an attempt to symbolize that the organization being protested against has "murdered" people.[5] Sometimes, part of the protesting group makes speeches about what is being protested while the rest of the group lies on the ground.[8]

On September 15, 2007, several thousand protested the Iraq war at the Capitol at Washington D.C. Hundreds "sprawled on the ground" on the Capitol lawn at the die-in. Over 190[9] were arrested, including ten veterans of the Iraq war.[10]

The die-in was also used by organizers in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the St.Louis Police Department's handling of Michael Brown's fatal shooting case in 2014 and in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area to protest the killing of Eric Garner.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blythe, Anne. "Former N.C. resident takes a stand against easy gun access". News Observer. The News & Observer Publishing Company. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Direct Action Everywhere Die-In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIFMZEJ2nQw
  3. ^ Donatella Della Porta; Abby Peterson; Herbert Reiter (2006). The Policing of Transnational Protest. Ashgate Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7546-2676-3. 
  4. ^ Debran Rowland (2004). The Boundaries of Her Body: The Troubling History of Women's Rights in America. Sphinx Legal. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-57248-368-2. 
  5. ^ a b Thomas Vernon Reed (2005). The Art Of Protest: Culture And Activism From The Civil Rights Movement To The Streets Of Seattle. U of Minnesota Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-8166-3770-6. 
  6. ^ Washingtion, Jesse. "In gun debate, two sides speak different languages". Associated Press. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Sharon J. Smith (22 February 2011). The Young Activist's Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World. Random House. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-60774-016-2. 
  8. ^ a b Mark Andersen; Mark Jenkins (2003). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital. Akashic Books. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-888451-44-3. 
  9. ^ More Than 190 Arrested at D.C. Protest, Matthew Barakat, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, September 16, 2007
  10. ^ Dueling Demonstrations As Thousands March to Capitol to Protest Iraq Conflict, 189 Arrested; War Supporters Take on 'Vocal Minority' Michelle Boorstein, V. Dion Haynes and Allison Klein, The Washington Post, Sunday, September 16, 2007; Page A08, Retrieved September 16, 2007
  11. ^ In Ferguson, Tactics Set for Grand Jury Decision in Michael Brown Case, John Eligon, Julie Bosman and Monica Davey, The New York Times, Monday, November 16, 2014; Retrieved November 16, 2014
  12. ^ Oakland, S.F. protesters denounce police killing of Eric Garner, Vivian Ho, Peter Fimrite and Kale Williams, "San Francisco Chronicle", Wednesday, December 3, 2014