The year 2010-11 will go down in history as a year of violent protests: in Tehran in January, in Athens in January and again in May, in Thailand and Jamaica in May, and then throughout North Africa and the Middle East in January through March 2011, the streets have been filled with protests, and people have died in confrontations with the state. Yet there is a vast difference between the settings of these events, and understanding that difference illuminates much about the variation in forms and effects of protests. I shall address the following questions: Why is there violent protest in democracies? How does that differ from protests in highly repressive non-democratic regimes? What do protestors hope to accomplish in both cases?