Protest Strategy Change in the Case of the Chagossians
Lierop, M.P.A.W. van
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This thesis investigates the changes in protest strategies of the Chagossians. First, it contains an outline of the history of the Chagossians, particularly their forced eviction from the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius and their lives following this expulsion. The thesis describes the development of a collective identity and how changes in their collective identity continue to influence their protest strategies. The thesis then continues with an analysis of how the Chagossians came to view human rights instruments as an important tool for protesting and how the use of such instruments changed their protest strategies. And last, the thesis renders an analysis of how the Chagossians came to view litigation as an important tool for protesting and how this changed the protest strategies, and especially how these changes have divided the Chagossian community. The thesis is based on literature studies and in-depth interviews with the leaders of the two Chagossian social movement organizations in Mauritius as well as other experts. The thesis touches upon social movement organization theory, theories about collective identity, the use of human rights instruments and the role of litigation and the judicialization of politics. The main conclusion of this thesis is that traditional protest strategies such as street demonstrations and hunger strikes in which masses play a role, are being replaced by increasingly professionalized forms of protest in which human rights bodies and instruments are used and which are fought out in courts instead of in the streets of Port Louis.