Dilemma action

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A dilemma action is a type of non-violent civil disobedience designed to create a "response dilemma" or "lose-lose"situation for public authorities "by forcing them to either concede some public space to protesters or make themselves look absurd or heavy-handed by acting against the protest."[1][2] The Serbian-based NGO Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies has extensively used the technique in its trainings to nonviolent civil resistors.

Examples of dilemma actions include Ai Weiwei's gathering to eat pig's trotters, the Standing protests of the 2013 protests in Turkey,[1] the Gaza Freedom Flotilla[3] and Uganda's "walk to work" protests.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • George Lakey, Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution (Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers, 1987 [1973]).
  • Srdja Popovic, Andrej Milovojevic, and Slobodan Djinovic, Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points, 2d ed. (Belgrade: Center for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies, 2007), 70–71.
  • Philippe Duhamel, The Dilemma Demonstration: Using Nonviolent Civil Disobedience to Put the Government between a Rock and a Hard Place (Minneapolis, MN: Center for Victims of Torture, 2004).


  1. ^ a b Laura Moth, Today's Zaman, 19 June 2013, A standing dilemma in Taksim
  2. ^ John A. Gould and Edward Moe, "Beyond Rational Choice: Ideational Assault and the Strategic Use of Frames in Nonviolent Civil Resistance", in, Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Lester R. Kurtz (2012), Nonviolent Conflict and Civil Resistance, Emerald Group Publishing, p141
  3. ^ wri-irg.org, 5 March 2013, Freedom Flotilla to Gaza – a dilemma action evolves
  4. ^ Al Jazeera, 28 April 2011, Uganda walk-to-work protests kick up dust