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Wednesday 20 November 2019

The global protest spree: One movement inspires the other

Zara Mansoor. 

Mass protests in Chile, Iraq, Brazil, Lebanon, Egypt and Ecuador have gained much of the world’s attention. Some of them are in full swing while others are subsiding. The reasons behind all are common: poor governance, corruption, lack of political freedom and rising living costs. 

Poor economic conditions in these countries have forced the masses to take to the streets and fight for their rights. The “World Spring” has begun. Each country’s efforts are influencing others to stand in the face of their rulers as they have long tolerated suppression.

Geographical outspread of the protests 

Demonstrations across Chile’s capital Santiago have occurred over escalation of subway fares and road tolls. Broken promises and corruption of elites have caused frustration among people. The government failed to answer the long-standing disappointments of the protestors and intensified the situation even more.  

Thousands of protestors in Iraq’s capital Baghdad have occupied the central Tahrir square as they lament about their conditions getting worse. They are also fed up of foreign interference in their political structure and the corruption their country is facing. Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi, backed by a shaky alliance, is now struggling to retain his leadership.

Brazilian teachers and students stormed the streets in the name of an “Education Tsunami” to fight against their far right President Jair Bolsonaro. His assault on education had built up an awful sequence of events in the country.  

In Hong Kong, crisis erupted when an extradition bill was passed by the government which would enable it to extradite accused persons for trial in mainland China. Although the bill was later suspended, demonstrations continue while further creating unrest in the city.  

Anti-government riots in Lebanon shook the whole country when all societal factions united against their government’s failure to deal with the country’s economy. The country’s worst economic crisis – high prices, unemployment, corruption and poor governance – forced the people to demand complete reform of the political system. Although Prime Minister Saad Hariri has resigned, protestors want a non-sectarian government and a functional political framework for their country. 

Similar protests are going on in Egypt, against the Sisi Regime. Although In 2013, Egypt passed a law banning such protests but rising prices and falling economic and political structure forced the people to rise and demand the leader’s resignation.

Last month, Ecuador faced huge sit-ins over sharp rise in petrol prices leading to economic insecurities and rising food and transport prices. Protesters stormed the national parliament and violent clashes shook the environment. After days of mass protests, the government surrendered.

A domino effect

The clashes between governments and their people have led thousands to put their lives at stake in search for freedom. As is the saying “freedom is never free”, it always asks something in return. The demonstrations proved that power still lies with the people and they can overthrow their leadership if it fails to maintain the proper structure of the country’s economy and politics. One movement arouses the other. Uprisings like the Arab Spring are being observed in a different set of countries. 

Citizens of these countries were already living in underprivileged conditions but the attempt of a single group of people to challenge their situation started a domino effect. One by one, residents of other countries challenged their rulers’ autonomy and succeeded in bringing them down. Some are still pushing. 

Governments worldwide are failing to satisfy their masses. Leaderships destroyed the order and foundation on which their countries stood on. Along with that, rule of law in these countries is on the verge of collapse. The mass movements are attempting to regain their countries’ former glories but are also causing the destruction of their civil structure. 

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