The 8 Most Ridiculously Badass Protesters Ever Photographed

Flaming Scarf Guy

Image found by the awesome Strigoi

Another protester in the anti-Mubarak riots, Flaming Scarf Guy looks like he walked straight out of an anime (that he just firebombed). The context is unclear even in the original Al Jazeera photo, so we can't say if he caused that explosion, or if he just sort of appears out of the ether whenever there is an explosion. We're going to assume a terrifying combination of the two, like a napalm-based variant of the Bloody Mary legend.

Plenty of people see this picture and make jokes about that old action hero cliche: Cool guys don't look at explosions, they just turn and walk away. But that's not what's happening here, exactly. There's no indication that he's walking away from anything; he's entirely content where he is. He felt the hot breath of that multi-story fireball on his neck, and decided that a good precautionary measure for that kind of danger was to put a scarf on. If he casually strolls away from anything, it will be no less than the heat death of the sun.

Surf Tha Police

You can fight the riot cops. You can scream at them, spit in their faces, accuse them of supporting fascism, and question their morals, their motives, and the integrity of their mother's vagina. Or you can give a giggling, psychotic finger to logic and reason, and opt instead to just pull a Dukes of Hazzard on those bastards. Hey, it makes sense: Those shields are like makeshift ramps, he probably got some sweet air.

This is yet a third Egyptian protester, and this image completes the most epic trilogy since Lord of the Rings. Yes, pictures are all a matter of timing, and yes, there was probably an unfortunate aftermath immediately after this, and no, it probably didn't do much to stop the police in the grand scheme of things. But for just this one single moment in time, this is a man dive-tackling an entire fucking precinct worth of riot cops and he is unquestionably succeeding.

Dairy Rioter

This dairy farmer was protesting the EU headquarters in Brussels over rapidly falling milk prices. And that's...probably the least exciting protest that's ever been staged, wrestling away the #1 spot from long-standing champ: The "mail peanuts to executives to keep Jericho on the air" campaign. But this man did not earn his spot on a list populated with iconic badasses hurling grenades and roaring obscenities in the face of authority because of what he's doing here. He's on this list for what he did right before this, which was to take a look at all his friends as they geared up for the protest -- strapping on their gas masks, pocketing their eye wash, testing their tasers, and hefting their clubs - before solemnly reaching down and grabbing the one and only weapon he needed. Then he went to a riot armed with a tit.

Water Cannon Man

You knew he was coming.

You knew because he's an internet staple by now. You knew because everything about him -- from his Superman-stance, to his contemptuous sneer, to his kickin' Cable-knit sweater ensemble -- is the very embodiment of defiance. But mostly you knew he was coming because you can't even show pictures of injustice without Water Cannon Man mysteriously popping out of the ground to stare them down until they burst into flame. This image was taken in South Korea during the APEC protests in 2005, when thousands of union workers tried to storm a meeting of the Pacific Rim leaders to protest a bill that opened their rice markets to foreign powers. And before you go writing this man off as an isolated event -- some sort of temporary avatar of badass on Earth, acting alone and against all odds like the Korean John McClane -- you should probably watch the rest of the video:

If you don't have enough patience for the build-up, just skip ahead to the payoff at 2:06, when the farmers all band together, hurl their grapples into the gargantuan steel shipping containers that the police are hiding behind, and then pull them to the ground with their bare hands before throwing them into the god damn sea. You can even see what looks like a dry Water Cannon Man standing off to the side at 1:53. Which means that he either hadn't made his iconic stand yet, or far more likely, that his clothes were simply dried by the residual heat emanating outward from him when he Optic Blasted injustice in the dick.

You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook or you can join him and FIGHT THE POWERS THAT BE! He'll uh...he'll be in the back. Right behind you. Totally. All the way.

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Robert Brockway

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