In Pictures: Protests

An Indian farmer protesting at the 4th World Social Forum. Mumbai, India. 2004.

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Protests form an indispensable fabric of contemporary life. This ongoing long-term series dated back to the early 2000s when Canadian and French photographer Jennifer Chan started snapping shots of protest actions around the world. 

Since the 1990s, photographer and filmmaker Jennifer Chan has been a participant and observer in protests worldwide and has photographed their actions in different locations.

In 2001, she attended the World Conference against Racism in Durban to document grassroots actions. Two years later, she was in Cancun to join the protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2004, she participated in the World Social Forum in Mumbia, attended by over 200,000 participants.

In 2005, she returned to her native city, Hong Kong, to be part of the protests against the WTO. The following summer, she went to Okinawa to document local resistance against ongoing US military occupation and the proposal of a new heliport. She produced an award-winning short animation film called Day of Shame, referring to the day when Japan and the US signed the Peace Treaty, beginning US military occupation in Okinawa.

In 2012, she was in Tahir Square, Cairo, and Alexandria during the Arab Spring. More recent coverage includes the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019.

Protests are essentially symbolic actions, and few instruments are better than photos to encapsulate the spirit of a generation of change makers.   

All Content © 2023 by Jennifer Chan