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Tasks: Toppling Statues

Understanding the text:

  1. What is the Black Lives Matter movement?

  2. Why have monuments been vandalised and attacked by Black Lives Matter protestors?

  3. Why were these monuments created?

  4. Why do some feel strongly that the monuments should be protected?


Study the definitions of 'civil disobedience' and 'rebellion' found in the expandable boxes below. Then discuss the questions below in a group or with a partner.

What is civil disobedience?

Civil disobedience is when citizens deliberately and actively break specific laws. It is an act expressing conscience and moral conviction. Civil disobedience is not done in secret. Civil disobedience is non-violent.

Source: Wikipedia.

What is rebellion?

Rebellion is an act of armed resistance against a government or a leader. Rebellion is the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.

Source: Oxford Languages.

  1. Is toppling a statue an act of civil disobedience or rebellion?

  2. How far is it acceptable to go when protesting an issue you feel strongly about?

  3. How should a democratic government react to civil disobedience?

  4. What is the difference between civil disobedience and rebellion?


Work in a group and divide the tasks between you.

Present what you find out to the rest of the group. Work together and make a shared document with all the information you have gathered.

  1. Find out more about why monuments are targeted in connection with the Black Lives Matter protests, and find specific examples of monuments that have been vandalised or removed.

  2. Find out about the philosophy of destroying monuments and historical artefacts during China's cultural revolution 1966–1976.

  3. Find out about ISIS destroying historical monuments and artefacts.

  4. Find out about the removal of Soviet Era memorials in Europe after the Cold War.

Then discuss the following questions in your group:

  • What are good reasons to remove memorials and monuments?

  • What are bad reasons to remove memorials and monuments?

  • Who gets to decide what memorials and monuments to keep in a democracy?

  • Will destroying memorials and monuments mean that history is forgotten?


Pick one of the tasks and write a text. Use relevant sources, give references, and have a source list.

  1. Find examples of protests that employ civil disobedience today. Pick one, and present the issue that is protested, as well as the methods that are being used to protest it. Discuss whether you think civil disobedience is acceptable in this case.

  2. People often talk about teenage rebellion. Write a text where you discuss what teenage rebellion is. Suggest reasons why teenage rebellion happens. How does teenage rebellion compare to other forms of rebellion?

  3. Sometimes protests become rebellions. Find an example of a protest that became a rebellion. Present the issue that was protested. Discuss what could have been done to prevent the protest from becoming a rebellion.


  1. In the box below you will find words that refer to different types of protest. Translate the words into Norwegian (explain the words if you cannot find Norwegian equivalents), then write five sentences using some of the words.

  2. Imagine that there is something you want to change at your school. What is it, and what form of protest would you choose to get your way?


human chain
peace camp
industrial action

Relatert innhold

An article about why statues and memorials have been vandalized during BLM protests.

An article discussing the existence and the consequences of structural racism.

CC BY-SASkrevet av Tone Hesjedal.
Sist faglig oppdatert 12.04.2021


Democracy and Human Rights