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Aside from obvious challenges, such as carrying a sign outside an eruv, is it inherently assur to attend a political protest on Shabbat?

  • That would also depend on what the protesters do. There might be a mar'is ayin issue depending on who else is there. Since you would not be carrying a sign, it might also involve being mistaken for the other side. – sabbahillel Jan 23 '17 at 18:05
  • Some "inherent" problems about political protests that MIGHT make it prohibited. Shabbat is supposed to be a calming day. Political protests tend to raise anger and sometimes aggression - concepts contradictory to the Shabbat theme. There MAY be a problem also with spending your time at a rally among non-Jews which takes your focus away from the spirit of the Jewish Shabbat. – DanF Jan 23 '17 at 18:06
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    Seems like Uvdin deChol to me. – Double AA Jan 23 '17 at 18:27
  • Of interest, perhaps - forward.com/news/national/359301/… – DanF Jan 23 '17 at 21:36
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The issue would be one of וְדַבֵּר דָּבָר - not talking unnecessary things on Shabbat. The Remo, however, allows one to chat if one enjoys chatting. (I assume chanting slogans should be no different.)

א וְדַבֵּר דָּבָר (יְשַׁעְיָה נח, יג): שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא דִּבּוּרְךָ שֶׁל שַׁבָּת כְּדִבּוּרְךָ שֶׁל חֹל; הִלְכָּךְ אָסוּר לוֹמַר: דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה לְמָחָר אוֹ סְחוֹרָה פְּלוֹנִית אֶקְנֶה לְמָחָר, וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשִׂיחַת דְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים אָסוּר לְהַרְבּוֹת. הגה: וּבני אדם שֶׁסִּפּוּר שְׁמוּעוֹת וְדִבְרֵי חִדּוּשִׁים הוּא עֹנֶג לָהֶם, מֻתָּר לְסַפְּרָם בְּשַׁבָּת כְּמוֹ בַּחֹל; אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְעַנֵּג, אָסוּר לְאָמְרָם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתְעַנֵּג בָּהֶם חֲבֵרוֹ (ת''ה סי' ס''א).‏
(Source: סימן שז - דיני שבת התלוים בדבור)

If, however, there's a public need for the issue being protested, or a halachic need, then it would be permitted even according to the stricter opinions, as recorded in סימן שו - באיזה חפצים מתר לדבר בשבת

ו חֶפְצֵי שָׁמַיִם מֻתָּר לְדַבֵּר בָּהֶם, כְּגוֹן: חֶשְׁבּוֹנוֹת שֶׁל מִצְוָה, וְלִפְסֹק צְדָקָה, וּלְפַקֵּחַ עַל עִסְקֵי רַבִּים

If, you plan on simply being a silent bystander, then it would be permitted, as we learned in סימן שא - באיזה כלים מתר לצאת בשבת ואיזה מהם אסורים that one may go watch something one enjoys and one may go for strolls on Shabbat. (I'm assuming you're either going to see the crowds or else you feel strongly about the issue and attending provides you with some level of joy - the "joy" of "doing something about it".)

ב בַּחוּרִים הַמִּתְעַנְּגִים בִּקְפִיצָתָם וּמְרוּצָתָם, מֻתָּר. וְכֵן לִרְאוֹת כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁמִּתְעַנְּגִים בּוֹ וְכֵן מֻתָּר לְטַיֵּל (בְּשַׁבָּת) (בֵּית יוֹסֵף).‏

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