Protests swept across the nation in 2016

Marches, sit-ins and raised fists were symbols of protest in 2016 -- with people fighting for issues they felt strongly about including the presidential election, police brutality and gun control.

The protests that saw some of the largest numbers were held in response to Donald Trump being elected president. Thousands of people across the country marched through the streets in opposition and signs with the sayings, "Not my President" and "Love trumps hate" were prominent.

Notable protests of 2016
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Notable protests of 2016

Trump victory protests (New York)

Demonstrators hold a illuminated neon sign reading 'Love Trumps Hate' during a protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Union Square in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

National Anthem Protests

San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick has knelt during  the national anthem to protest police brutality. He has been joined by other professional athletes as well as players at the college and high school level as well.

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Dakota Access Pipeline protests

Demonstrators protested the Dakota Access pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Cannonball, North Dakota saying it would have a negative impact on the area's drinking water and disturb sacred tribal sites.

(REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

Alton Sterling Protests

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

House Democrats' Sit-in

Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. John Lewis (R) staged a sit-in on the House floor "to demand action on common sense gun legislation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, June 22, 2016.

(REUTERS/ U.S. Rep. David Cicilline)

Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

A group of self-styled militiamen took over a U.S. wildlife refuge headquarters in January to protest the federal government's role in governing wild lands. 

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Keith Lamont Scott Protests

Protesters march in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 23, 2016 following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. His wife recorded video of the moments leading up to his death. In November prosecutors announced that the officer who shot Scott would not be charged. 


KKK counter protests

Counter protesters hold placards near a planned Klu Klux Klan rally in Anaheim, California February 27, 2016. At least three people were stabbed and one of them was critically wounded in a scuffle between members of the KKK and counter protesters near the planned rally, police said.

(REUTERS/Tori Richards)

Sylville Smith protests

A protester stands against police officers during a protest held for Sylville Smith, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he reportedly attempted to flee after he was pulled over by police during a traffic stop in August, in Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Trump victory protests (Illinois)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

DAPL Protests (California)

Supporters of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of demonstrators attend a protest against DAPL in Los Angeles, United States on December 10, 2016.

(Photo by Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Trump victory protests (Pennsylvania)

Protestors march against Republican Donald Trump's victory in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile protests

Demonstrators lock arms as they march from The White House to Capitol Hill on July 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. Protestors gathered in Washington to protest the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Trump victory protests (California)

Anti-Trump protesters flood the 101 freeway as they protest the President-Elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles, California, on November 10, 2016.

(Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Donald Trump campaign rally protest

Protesters rally outside of the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was due to speak at a campaign rally March 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The rally was postponed for safety reasons.

(Photo by Dakota Sillyman/NurPhoto) 


An activist movement that began two years ago continued to have a strong presence. Black Lives Matter was established in 2014 in response to police violence in America. In 2016, protestors marched through some of the biggest cities in America to protest the deaths of several African-American people by police -- including Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Minnesota, and Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina.

Professional athletes also protested racial inequality and their actions became the topic of debate for thousands of people across the country. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick seemingly began the movement when he sat during the national anthem in the NFL preseason. Since then he has been joined by other professional athletes -- as well as college and high school players who have protested in a number of ways including kneeling and raising their fists.

In January, an armed anti-government militia took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy led the group in their protest of the federal government's role in governing wild lands. They occupied the center for 41 days and one of the protestors was killed during an attempted traffic stop.

Political figures also participated in their own protest by staging a sit-in on the House floor. House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis, demanded action on gun control legislation and the sit-in lasted 25 hours.

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