Science, politics, and general geekiness, oh my!
Depends what you mean by "democracy." That latter, a protest, is an example of participatory democracy, while the former is an example of representative democracy. Representative democracy is useful, but for a democracy to function efficiently requires elements of both. If all you do is vote, then you are effectively confining policies to a narrow spectrum that may not reflect public opinion. Direct action and protest act as a countervailing power against this, and indeed many gains (civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, etc.) would not have been possible without participatory forms of democracy.
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