Observing protest: Media use and student involvement on 7 April 2010 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Individuals in and around protests are generally classified as either participants or nonparticipants. However, observers witnessing protests can also play an important role in collective actions by sharing their experiences. This paper explores the characteristics of observers during the 7 April 2010 demonstrations in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Based on data collected via a survey of university students, I demonstrate that protest observers differed from nonparticipants on a range of variables. A key factor differentiating student observers from nonparticipants was their online activity prior to the protests. Logistic regressions show that students with higher rates of online activity were significantly and substantially more likely to be protest observers than nonparticipants. These findings provide empirical evidence for categorizing observation as a distinct level of protest involvement, shed light on the demonstration in Bishkek on 7 April 2010, and suggest that examining online activity can contribute to a better understanding of protest involvement levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages17
Specialist publicationCentral Asian Survey
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • April 7 2010
  • Bishkek
  • Internet activity
  • observers
  • protest participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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