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States with the most protests

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Nathan Keirn // Wikimedia Commons

States with the most protests

Protesting is such a vital part of American culture that the Founding Fathers wrote it into the Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees the right to peacefully assemble right alongside the freedom of speech and of the press. In 2016, the reality of a President Donald Trump disappointed many people—while Trump won the electoral college, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote—and thousands of the unsatisfied populous exercised their right to protest after the election.

One day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, women’s rights supporters gathered for the largest one-day march in history. Since then, citizens have protested Trump’s policies including his travel ban aimed at mostly Muslim countries and his “zero-tolerance” policy that separated thousands of immigrant children from their parents. His recent proposal to redefine gender as the sex assigned at birth—effectively erasing the term transgender—has also sparked outrage.

Using data from Count Love, a website that keeps track of protests and demonstrations throughout the country, Stacker ranked states by the number of protests since President Trump took office. Only public displays of protests—nothing considered part of regular business—were counted. People used their First Amendment right to protest mostly on issues relating to guns, civil rights, immigration, and executive power.

Click through for a look back at major protests throughout history and a glimpse at demonstrations from the past few years.

ALSO: States with the highest and lowest Trump approval ratings

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Salmir Luther // Wikicommons

#51. South Dakota

Number of protests: 37

Total number of demonstrators: 9,199

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 10.6

In September, a group gathered in Sioux Falls to protest President Trump during his first visit to the state since his election. Trump came to show his support for gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem.


 

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Kenneth Zirkle // Wikicommons

#50. Rhode Island

Number of protests: 38

Total number of demonstrators: 12,605

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 11.9

Since the president’s inauguration, Rhode Island residents have gathered to denounce racism and sexism. Many showed their disapproval of the president’s executive order to separate thousands of children from their parents after families crossed into the United States from Mexico illegally. The "zero-tolerance” position sparked protests around the country.

 

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Watkinswd // Goodfreephotos

#49. Mississippi

Number of protests: 39

Total number of demonstrators: 10,854

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 3.6

Mississippi, the state of the Biloxi wade-ins, has a history of segregation and racial injustice. In 2017, President Trump faced protests and objections when he attended the dedication of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Rep. John Lewis, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., said he would not attend alongside the president because Trump’s "hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” Mississippians also joined others in the U.S. to protest Trump’s child-separation policy.

 

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Public.Resource.Org // Flickr

#48. North Dakota

Number of protests: 39

Total number of demonstrators: 6,138

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 8.1

A lengthy protest began in 2016 at North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation over the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Activists and members of the tribe voiced their concern over the pipeline’s placement before the president took office, but protests continued after Trump signed an executive order to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

 

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Miles530 // Wikicommons

#47. Delaware

Number of protests: 41

Total number of demonstrators: 5,043

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 5.3

Earlier this year, Trump’s child-separation policy turned a few Delaware women into first-time protest organizers. The Dover protests were co-sponsored by the ACLU of Delaware, the Delaware Civil Rights Coalition, Equality Delaware, and Pacem in Terris, among other organizations.

 

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Postdlf // Wikicommons

#46. Wyoming

Number of protests: 47

Total number of demonstrators: 7,577

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 12.9

Wyoming residents haven’t just protested the president and his policies, they took aim at his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. When the couple visited Jackson Hole—a popular ski resort—protesters yelled "Ivanka’s Complicit!”

 

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Sgerbic // Wikicommons

#45. Arkansas

Number of protests: 48

Total number of demonstrators: 13,815

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 4.6

Arkansas is no stranger to political protests. In 1962, the sit-in movement helped desegregate lunch counters and businesses in Little Rock. In 1968, the National Guard was called in after protests erupted over the death Curtis Ingram, a black teenager who was killed during an altercation with a prison guard at the Pulaski County Penal Farm.

 

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Elwood J Blues // Wikicommons

#44. Idaho

Number of protests: 66

Total number of demonstrators: 29,866

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 17.7

At the beginning of the year, the Trump administration stopped an oil and gas lease sale near Idaho’s Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge after protests from conservation groups. In October, Idaho letter carriers protested Trump’s plan to privatize the United States Postal Service.

 

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Carol M Highsmith // Wikicommons

#43. Alabama

Number of protests: 75

Total number of demonstrators: 18,923

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 3.9

Alabamians have never shied away from civil disobedience and the right to assemble. In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr., led thousands on a march from Selma to Alabama’s capital of Montgomery to protest voting discrimination based on race.

 

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Jim Plylar // Wikicommons

#42. Louisiana

Number of protests: 78

Total number of demonstrators: 21,634

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 4.6

Louisiana residents faced arrest after protesting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in September. The arrests may test what some say are too harsh anti-protest laws that restrict freedom of speech.


 

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Doug Kerr // Flickr

#41. Kansas

Number of protests: 84

Total number of demonstrators: 24,958

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 8.6

In the 1960s, Kansas residents protested the Vietnam War. Earlier this year, the Kansas Poor People’s Campaign protested for weeks at the Kansas Statehouse. The group advocated for more funding for veterans and education.


 

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ok-59 // Flickr

#40. Nevada

Number of protests: 90

Total number of demonstrators: 70,242

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 23.9

In March, thousands marched in Las Vegas seeking an end to gun violence. In September, a sociology professor shot himself on campus in an act of protest against President Trump, police say. He is facing felony charges.

 

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Jay Galvin // Wikicommons

#39. Alaska

Number of protests: 91

Total number of demonstrators: 19,921

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 26.9

In 2018, Alaskans have protested President Trump’s child-separation policy and oil drilling in the Arctic. Many rallied outside the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, to block Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

 

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Cappi Thompson // Flickr

#38. New Hampshire

Number of protests: 92

Total number of demonstrators: 24,293

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 18.2

New Hampshire voted for Hillary Clinton, and citizens have showed disapproval of President Trump’s policies. In June, a rally in Concord protested the president’s family separation policy.

 

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Caleb Long // Wikicommons

#37. Oklahoma

Number of protests: 101

Total number of demonstrators: 51,226

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 13.1

Oklahoma’s history is rife with protests. In 1958, a black teacher named Clara Luper supervised some of her black students during in sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. During the 1960s and 1970s, college students protested the Vietnam War.


 

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Martin Kraft // Wikicommons

#36. Montana

Number of protests: 106

Total number of demonstrators: 47,330

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 45.4

Montana is considered a red state, but that doesn’t mean everyone likes the current president. Since Trump took office, protests have popped up in Billings, Missoula (a college town), and Great Falls.

 

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No Attribution Required // Pixabay

#35. Nebraska

Number of protests: 107

Total number of demonstrators: 43,329

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 22.7

In 1969, protests broke out over the death of Vivian Strong, a 14-year-old black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer. This is the last riot on record for the state whose residents continue to participate in political protests.


 

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Jonathanking // Wikicommonns

#34. Vermont

Number of protests: 110

Total number of demonstrators: 39,679

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 63.5

In June, a 99-year-old woman organized a protest in Woodstock, Vermont, against the separation of immigrant children from their families along the U.S. border. In February, University of Vermont students protested racism to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.


 

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Raman Patel // Wikicommons

#33. Utah

Number of protests: 118

Total number of demonstrators: 45,786

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 15

When President Trump visited Utah in 2017, thousands of protestors faced off with Salt Lake City police officers equipped with shields and body armor. Environmentalists gathered objected to Trump’s decision to decrease the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National monuments by 2 million acres.  

 

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O Palsson // Flickr

#32. West Virginia

Number of protests: 119

Total number of demonstrators: 15,421

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 8.4

Protestors took to the trees to stand in the way of the Mountain Valley Pipeline earlier this year. Others protested the pipeline on land. Since Trump took office, protestors have marched for women’s rights and objected to Trump’s immigration policies.

 

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HaloMasterMind // Wikicommons

#31. South Carolina

Number of protests: 127

Total number of demonstrators: 21,693

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 4.4

After a white man shot and killed nine black parishioners in a church in Charleston in 2015, protestors demanded the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House. While it was permanently removed, the S.C. Secessionist Party is allowed to temporarily raise it every July 10.


 

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Marylandstater // Wikicommons

#30. Maryland

Number of protests: 130

Total number of demonstrators: 24,720

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 4.1

Baltimore’s history is marred by racial injustice. In 2015, protests erupted for weeks after the Death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a fatal neck injury while in police custody. The justice system did not bring charges against any officers.

 

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#29. New Mexico

Number of protests: 141

Total number of demonstrators: 60,544

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 29.1

New Mexico, the nation’s most Hispanic state, started protesting Trump before he took office. In 2016, Trump tweeted "The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!”

 

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Xpixupload // Wikicommons

#28. Hawaii

Number of protests: 148

Total number of demonstrators: 30,521

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 21.4

Hawaii has a history of protesting changes to the land it views as sacred. The Hawaii Supreme Court recently approved the building of a giant telescope on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea mountain, a development citizens protested for years.

 

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#27. Maine

Number of protests: 158

Total number of demonstrators: 50,988

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 38.3

Before the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Maine residents protested his nomination outside of City Hall in Portland in an effort to convince Sen. Susan Collins to vote no on the Trump appointment. In October, people gathered to oppose Trump’s proposed transgender policy, which would redefine gender as what is listed on someone’s birth certificate.


 

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Iqkotze // Wikicommons

#26. Iowa

Number of protests: 160

Total number of demonstrators: 53,049

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 16.9

After the shooting of four students at Kent State University in Ohio, anti-Vietnam War activists continued to gather in Iowa. One protest ended with a burned down building on the University of Iowa campus.

 

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#25. Connecticut

Number of protests: 186

Total number of demonstrators: 53,076

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 14.8

The election of Donald Trump—and his subsequent policies—sparked political protests in Connecticut, including participation in the Women’s March and dissent against Trump’s travel ban. In 2018, people have marched for gun control and to support immigrant rights.


 

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Kaldari // wikicommons

#24. Tennessee

Number of protests: 192

Total number of demonstrators: 114,619

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 17.2

In 2017, supporters of White Lives Matter gathered in Tennessee. However, the white nationalists were outnumbered by twice as many counter-protestors during the rally in Murfreesboro.

 

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No Attribution Required // Maxpixel

#23. District of Columbia

Number of protests: 197

Total number of demonstrators: 1,183,872

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 1738

It’s no surprise that Washington, D.C. is a hotbed for political activism. In 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., utter the words: "I have a dream.” The Women’s March on Washington in 2017 was one of the largest protests in history.

 

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Tony the Marine // Wikicommons

#22. Arizona

Number of protests: 198

Total number of demonstrators: 177,636

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 25.6

In 2011, a gunman shot Rep. Gabby Giffords, a Democrat, along with 17 others in Tucson. In 2017, thousands marched in Phoenix for stronger gun control and to show solidarity with victims of gun violence.


 

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Diego Delso // Wikicommons

#21. Indiana

Number of protests: 200

Total number of demonstrators: 36,125

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 5.4

In August, activists demanded better living conditions at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana. In September, a group gathered for a Ku Klux Klan meeting in Madison, Indiana. Around 300 demonstrators protested the meeting.

 

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Seifler // Wikicommons

#20. Kentucky

Number of protests: 201

Total number of demonstrators: 72,760

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 16.4

Earlier this year, thousands of Kentucky teachers lobbied for education funding and objected to benefit cuts. In July, a small group of protestors launched personal and political attacks at insulted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both personally and politically as he left a restaurant when he left a restaurant in Louisville.


 

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Autiger // Wikicommons

#19. Georgia

Number of protests: 204

Total number of demonstrators: 133,546

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 13

During the Civil Rights Movement, activists spoke out against racial inequality in Georgia. The state hasn’t slowed down their protesting efforts. In 2018 alone, anti-fascists rallied against Neo-Nazis, people marched against gun violence, and members of the NAACP objected to the carving—and asked for the removal—of three Confederate soldiers in Atlanta’s Stone Mountain.


 

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Vijay Kumar Koulampet // Wikicommons

#18. Wisconsin

Number of protests: 229

Total number of demonstrators: 151,309

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 26.2

After Gov. Scott Walker passed a bill stripping collective-bargaining rights from 175,000 public sector workers in 2011, unions organized the largest protest in the state’s capital city since the Vietnam War. Around 100,000 people descended on Madison. Large demonstrations lasted for about a month and included people sleeping in the statehouse.


 

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McGhiever // Wikicommons

#17. Minnesota

Number of protests: 244

Total number of demonstrators: 175,688

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 31.8

In 2017, a group of President Trump supporters gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. The small group of white nationalists clashed with about 200 anti-fascist demonstrators. In 2018, Trump protesters—including elected members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party—gathered to voice their disapproval of the president and his policies outside of a Trump rally in Duluth.


 

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K Trimble // Wikicommons

#16. Missouri

Number of protests: 266

Total number of demonstrators: 83,375

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 13.7

Missouri has a long history of civil rights protests, starting in 1819 with a demonstration against the state’s plan to enter the Union as a slave state. The Colored Clerks Circle later picketed businesses like Woolworth's that refused to hire black people. In 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer. Demonstrators took to the streets in St. Louis, but the tragedy launched a national discussion about race and a movement against police violence.


 

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Onetwo1 // Wikicommons

#15. Colorado

Number of protests: 289

Total number of demonstrators: 281,313

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 50.8

Colorado has experienced tragic mass shootings at high schools and a movie theater. Many in the state joined the March For Our Lives demonstration in 2018 aimed at raising awareness against gun violence.


 

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M.O. Stevens // Wikicommons

#14. Oregon

Number of protests: 291

Total number of demonstrators: 195,302

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 47.7

Some residents in Portland, Oregon, took the president’s victory hard. During the year after his election, they set fires, smashed windows, and protested everything from immigrant rights to racism. In 2018, a non-Trump related protest against police brutality ended in the hospitalization of three people.

 

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Skip Plitt // Wikicommons

#13. Virginia

Number of protests: 297

Total number of demonstrators: 50,555

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 6

In 2017, a car drove into a crowd peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. The driver killed one person and injured dozens. Hundreds marched this year to mark the anniversary.

 

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Smallbones // Wikicommos

#12. New Jersey

Number of protests: 304

Total number of demonstrators: 80,695

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 9

In 1967, New Jersey joined the list of states experiencing protests that turned to race riots, mostly as a response to police violence on black citizens. During the Newark riots, 26 people were killed. Since Trump’s election, New Jersey citizens have protested the president’s immigration policies, with some gathering near his golf course.


 

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Patrick Emerson // Flickr

#11. Illinois

Number of protests: 316

Total number of demonstrators: 742,572

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 58

Illinois, home to Chicago, has a long history of protests. In 1968, thousands of anti-war demonstrators gathered outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 2012, protestors marched against the 2012 NATO rally. Although the marches started out peaceful, protestors violently clashed with police by the end. In 2016, so many anti-Trump protesters organized in Chicago that the future president cancelled his rally.

 

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No Attribution Required // Pixabay

#10. Ohio

Number of protests: 316

Total number of demonstrators: 108,815

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 9.4

Ohio’s most famous protest ended in tragedy at Kent State University in 1970. A group of unarmed college students objected to the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. A confrontation with the Ohio National Guardsman ended in the shooting deaths of four students.

 

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Chanilim714 // Wikicommons

#9. North Carolina

Number of protests: 355

Total number of demonstrators: 159,261

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 15.7

In the 1960s, peaceful demonstrations in North Carolina sparked a national sit-in movement. In Greensboro, four black men refused to leave the segregated lunch counter at Woolworth. In 2016, residents protested the state’s "bathroom bill.” The policy, which banned individuals from using a bathroom different from their sex assigned at birth, has since been rescinded.


 

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Fcb981 // Wikicommons

#8. Massachusetts

Number of protests: 362

Total number of demonstrators: 376,674

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 55.3

Home to the 1773 Boston Tea Party, Massachusetts residents remain politically active. In 2018, showed their support for immigrants, protested gun violence, and opposed the nomination of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A report shows Massachusetts residents would even travel farther than most Americans for a protest.

 

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Cory Barnes // Flickr

#7. Washington

Number of protests: 364

Total number of demonstrators: 280,182

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 38.4

In 1999, the Seattle protests of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference opposed the globalization policies championed by the WTO. Police used pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets on the crowd, and some protesters threw sticks and water bottles back at law enforcement. By the end of the protests, Seattle buildings and businesses suffered millions of dollars of damage.

 

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Andrew Martin // Wikicommons

#6. Michigan

Number of protests: 407

Total number of demonstrators: 111,812

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 11.3

Michigan is home to the Flint Sit-Down Strike, which ended with the recognition of the United Auto Workers union. In recent years, the Flint water crisis has sparked demonstrations among citizens seeking access to clean water.


 

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Ed Schipul // Flickr

#5. Texas

Number of protests: 494

Total number of demonstrators: 527,008

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 18.9

Since Texas is so close to Mexico, the state is often protesting about immigration issues. In June, protesters temporarily blocked a bus carrying immigrants outside a border patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, because of objections to Trump’s child-separation policy. Texans also demonstrated against oil drilling operations, with some people chaining themselves to equipment.


 

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Rina Pitucci // Flickr

#4. Pennsylvania

Number of protests: 525

Total number of demonstrators: 262,103

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 20.5

Pennsylvanians actively exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Steel workers went on strike in the early 1900s, and in the Civil Rights Movement sparked protests in the 1960s. In 2018, protesters spoke out about the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, and against anti-Semitic rhetoric that they believe led to a shooting that left 11 people dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.


 

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DXR // Wikicommons

#3. Florida

Number of protests: 586

Total number of demonstrators: 242,911

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 11.8

After a 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead, many students and supporters sought action from Congress on gun control. As a result, groups organized the National School Walkout, the March for Our Lives, and started the hashtag #NeverAgain.

 

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Matt Wade // Wikicommons

#2. New York

Number of protests: 742

Total number of demonstrators: 1,053,887

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 53.4

New York has a rich history of political protests, especially New York City. In 1915, suffragettes marched for a woman’s right to vote. The gay rights movement catalyzed after the Stonewall Riots in 1969. In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement began as a response to the financial crisis of 2008.


 

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Pete Bobb // Wikicommons

#1. California

Number of protests: 1,293

Total number of demonstrators: 2,100,445

Demonstrators per thousand residents: 53.5

The state is home to the University of California, Berkeley, where the Free Speech Movement began in the 1960s. In 2017, an anti-Trump protest on the liberal-leaning campus turned violent after far-left activists attacked Trump supporters. After California went solidly for Hillary Clinton, many citizens of college campuses also voiced their dissent against President Trump.

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