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The 8 Most Ridiculously Badass Protesters Ever Photographed

Protesters are, by their very nature, badass. Whether or not you agree with whatever it is they're standing for, you have to agree that it takes balls to go up against an entire system of government -- one comprised of thousands of highly trained, expertly equipped police and soldiers -- using whatever you find in the street on the walk down to the battlefield. There are two current protests that might be changing the world for the better: One in Wisconsin, trying to preserve what very few bargaining rights public workers still have, and another in Libya, that has since turned into a full scale revolution. It's the least we can do to support them, by spreading the word and increasing awareness. Oh no, wait, the least we can do is to look at a bunch of pictures of badass protesters and make jokes about them. Let's do that instead:

#8.
Shield Maiden

This picture was taken at the Amona outpost, West Bank, when armed-to-the-teeth riot police raided the unarmed shanty-town to evict the settlers. There are about twenty cops on the other side of that shield, all of them rushing downhill at full-tilt toward one elderly Jewish woman who looks like she just dropped a casserole dish mid-wash when she realized she was late to the mid-afternoon riot.

Twenty riot police on full charge, against one old Jewish woman, and

She.

Is.

Holding.

She looks like she'd be denied a part in a LifeAlert commercial on the grounds of frailty, and here she is Gandalfing the holy shit out of two dozen riot cops.

Two things had to have happened after this photo: One, every single one of those cops turned around, went home, called their mothers and apologized for every cross word they'd ever said. And two: One very old Jewish lady picked herself up, dusted off her apron, walked calmly back to her home, closed the door, took a deep breath, hurled the stove through the wall to vent the excess energy, and then quietly finished scrubbing up.

#7.
Gas Mask Guy

No, this isn't a screenshot of Fallout 4: New Athens; this was taken during the protests in Greece after their economy collapsed back in spring of 2010. When their government agreed to severe austerity measures that cut wages and benefits to public servants, and raised taxes on the rest of the citizens, but left the higher-ups largely untouched, the protests quickly turned into full-blown riots. Everything about this particular protester -- from the fact that he so accepted being tear-gassed that he brought his own mask, to his battle-corduroys, to his plain red flag apparently proclaiming his loyalty to berserker blood rage -- testifies that he has simply run out of fucks to give. And he didn't have all that many to begin with.

#6.
Bee Man

It's one thing to go to a protest, with the screaming, and the tension, and the ever present threat of violence -- it's another thing to do all that while absolutely covered in bees. This is Ahn Sang-gyu, a South Korean bee farmer in a 2006 protest about a territorial dispute between Japan and Korea. He says he chose to cover himself with "187,000 bees to represent the 187,000 square meter dimensions of the islets" in contention, but that sounds like pretty shaky reasoning. It's far more likely a matter of familiarity bias: When you have absolute dominion over the insect kingdom, you tend to think every problem is just a matter of finding the right volume of bees to throw at it.

#5.
The Kickbomber

Though it looks like he's caught in the middle of a 12 hit combo -- just after landing the fireball but right before the flying dragon kick -- this is actually a man in the midst of firebombing an empty policetruck during the anti-Mubarak riots in Egypt. Sure, plenty of destruction happens in a riot, and sure, the riot truck was empty to start with, but he's still dead-sprinting at an armored tank in what appear to be loafers; the fact that he can even get airborne with balls that dense is clear evidence of the Egyptian Basketball Team's terrifying efficiency.

Mubarak ran the gamut of cartoonish evil, from raising prices on food while cutting worker's wages, to running a state of fear and police brutality, but the final nail in his regime's coffin was shutting off the internet. In the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller: "First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the internet, so I kick-bombed the shit out of a riot truck."

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