This article provides an analysis of the legal framework and executive treatment of protest in contested social and political settings. In particular, it focuses on protest policing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and inquiries into policing and prosecution of protest in Turkey. Both cases display extreme forms of state action against protest. Precisely because of their extreme nature, these cases shed light on the legitimate limits of state action in this respect. In short, the comparative analysis shows that problematic forms of protest control are those which utilize law in order to draw artificial lines distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate dissent. It further illustrates the political consequences of a normalization of the use of extraordinary means to maintain public order, ultimately leading to the continuous trumping of the right to protest in favour of security interests.