Global Unrest

Bloomberg – A Year of Protests Sparked Change Around the Globe – Alan Crawford 12/5/19

Alan Crawford does a bang up job of identifying various hot spots of unrest around the globe that led to political change. Does not include other areas of unrest, i.e. Xianjiang and Jammu and Kashmir.

Economies on the verge of collapse, a yearning for greater democracy, revulsion against corruption and inequality–the grievances that drove people into the streets in 2019 were consistent across continents. Some marched peacefully, others clashed violently with security forces, and in at least five places the unrest helped topple government leaders.

Below is a breakdown of protests around the world, by region, and the main reasons behind them.


A defining movement of 2019 was the worldwide push for more urgent government action against what scientists and activists call a climate emergency. Demonstrations took place around the globe, many inspired by the 2018 school strikes started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.

① Puerto Rico

After a hurricane, bankruptcy, and probes into corruption, Puerto Ricans ousted Governor Ricardo Rosselló in July.

② Venezuela

Hyperinflation and hunger have driven opposition to the repressive regime of Nicolás Maduro. So far, he’s dug in.

③ Colombia

President Ivan Duque promised to lower taxes for the poorest quintile of the country after unrest led to the deaths of at least four, including a teenager.

④ Ecuador

When fuel subsidies ended, chaos ensued. The government rescinded the price hikes days later.

⑤ Bolivia

President Evo Morales presided over economic growth but ignored term limits. He wasforced out on Nov. 10.

⑥ Chile

Anger at increases in public transport costs grew into a broad-based movement protesting inequality.

① Scotland

More than 200,000 marched through Edinburgh in support of independence from the United Kingdom.

② U.K.

Britain has seen mass demonstrations both for and against Brexit, which is destined to define the country’s future.

③ France

A year into the yellow vest protests, the demonstrations have waned in size, but the grievances remain.

④ Catalonia

The impasse between Catalonia and Spain’s government in Madrid flared anew, with no resolution in sight.

⑤ Czech Republic

Prime Minister Andrej Babis, one of the country’s richest men, was a target of the biggest protests since 1989.

⑥ Slovakia

Slovaks took to the streets in October to demand investigations into crimes and the rooting out of government corruption.

⑦ Russia

Moscow has been the center of the largest antigovernment rallies in seven years.

① Algeria

Algeria’s president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, sought a fifth term, prompting unrest. He resigned in April.

② Lebanon

A levy on WhatsApp calls sparked pent-up anger, forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in October.

③ Iraq

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi quit after hundreds died in protests against government corruption and influence from Iran.

④ Iran

Fuel-price hikes resulting from U.S. sanctions sparked protests that led to more than 200 deaths, Amnesty International said.

⑤ Sudan

Omar al-Bashir crushed dissent during his 30-year presidency, but discontent over prices led to unrest that forced him out in April.

⑥ Malawi

Allegations of election rigging prompted tens of thousands to take to the streets of Malawi’s cities in August.

⑦ South Africa

Poor government services and a lack of housing were the primary reasons for violent demonstrations that broke out in April.

① South Korea

Tens of thousands protested the appointment of Cho Kuk as minister of justice. He left after five weeks on the job.

② Hong Kong

A June rally against a proposed law allowing extradition to China morphed into a broad anti-China movement.

③ Indonesia

October protests raged against the government’s program, including controversial changes to the criminal code.

④ Papua

In Indonesia’s easternmost region, clashes between separatists and government forces in August and September resulted in many deaths.

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