Plan B: Using Secondary Protests to Undermine Repression

Activist holding flowers in front of policeThe Otpor! student movement in Serbia built a broad constituency of support by continuously innovating and combining tactics to ensure the safety of their volunteers and break down the fear of its people to speak out against the government. The content of the notebook focuses on “Plan B,” one tactic they used to do this. When Serb authorities began arresting demonstrators, Otpor!’s support base could have disintegrated due to fear.

But Plan B – organizing secondary demonstrations outside police stations where demonstrators were being held – allowed people to overcome their fear of participation and keep activists involved, especially at a crucial point in the struggle. It also helped turn one of the regime’s strengths against it, thus switching the balance of power. People must be able to safely rise above the fear of speaking out if they are to participate, especially in an effort to overcome a repressive regime. Otpor!’s experience allows us to learn about one tactic used to help alleviate fear and empower people.

Year of Publication: 2003
Author(s): Zorana Smiljanic

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