We conducted pooled time-series analyses to assess how number and size of demonstrations affect the political agenda in Belgium (1993-2000). Taking twenty-five issues into account, this study finds that protest matters for the political agenda setting. This study also advances scholarly understanding of the agenda-setting power of protest by showing that the causal mechanisms of protest impact are complex and contingent. The parliamentary, governmental, and legislative attention for issues is significantly and differently affected by preceding protest activities. The media act as an intermediary variable: media coverage emerges in response to protest and, in turn, affects the political agenda afterwards. Protests on some issues have more effect than on others: in Belgium, new social movements protests are especially effective in causing parliament and government to focus attention on the issue.
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|Published - Jun 2012