In one of the most famous videos of wild life battles of all time (the Battle at Kruger; 25 million views), you can clearly see the group dynamic of leader and herd at play. Once the lead lion moves, they all do.
Once they get the buffalo out of the water, then you can see the lead buffalo lead the others and then see him go back against the lions. Once the others are there, the original leader steps back, and allows the other to take to initiative.
Soon enough, the whole group of normally timid buffalo are chasing the small group of lions. Then notice the young male at the end, standing up to them like he is tough. :p
This is the same basic process as how human movements and revolutions are made. We follow each other, we set the example for each other.
Having courage allows others to have courage, and makes it more likely for them to engage in their own positive action.
You can see similar developments, where one individual stands up and leads, then other people step up and start to protest themselves. You can also hear a sociologist talking about it in a different way though. 😦
Above you see the classic TED example of how to start a dance movement.
Below you series of clips where protests turn violent. Note that it is one individual who take the first step, and then others follow. These are general principles which apply in all situations.
Lead. Be a first follower. you ARE an example for others, and it is important you lead in the right ways (whatever that means for you). If you don’t believe that the buffalo should have attacked, you must lead the other way.
Maybe you have a better example of a protest turning violent? I had difficulty finding a great example for humans as they are so chopped up by the news corps.