Surge in Protests Around the World in October; Common Factor Uniting Them?

LATEST: As many as a million Chileans protested on Friday in the capital Santiago in the biggest demonstrations yet since violence broke out a week ago in the South American nation, Reuters report. And in Barcelona, Catalan separatists protested and clashed with police in demonstrations raging since Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine separatist leaders to prison last week, The Washington Post reported.

DESPARDES — In Pakistan, religio-political leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman supported by the two major centrist parties (PML-N and PPP) announced his supporters would kick start long march (Azadi March) from Karachi to Islamabad this Halloween weekend.

There are many case-specific causes and consequences of each of these mass movements – along with some significant shared dynamics, according to WP.

One overarching theme they have: From Beirut to Hong Kong, and from Spain to Santiago, demonstrators say political and economic institutions aren’t working for the masses or representing their interests. Add to the list: corruption, austerity measures, government deadlock, etc., etc.

“Globalism” — which George Soros takes to mean an integrated, global economy underpinned by the rule of law, may find an ally in all of the reverberations.

AFP REPORTS — The past weeks have seen a wave of often unprecedented protest movements erupt in countries around the world.

Here is an overview of the main ones that started this month and others that are continuing.

– Bolivia –

When? Since October 21.

Trigger? The disputed results of the October 20 presidential election which gave outgoing leader Evo Morales almost outright victory for a fourth term.

State of play? There has been violence in several regions; a general strike was launched on October 23.

Toll? Several people have been injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morales.

– Chile –

When? Since October 18.

Trigger? An increase in the price of metro tickets in the capital.

State of play? President Sebastian Pinera suspended the price hike and then announced social measures such as increased pensions and lower electricity costs. But the protests spread, including complaints about living costs and social inequality. A general strike started on October 23.

Toll? 18 dead.

– Lebanon –

When? Since October 17.

Trigger? A proposed tax on calls made through messaging apps.

State of play? The government of Saad Hariri quickly axed the measure and announced emergency economic reforms. But the protests have widened to demand the removal of the entire political class.

Toll? Peaceful protests, marked by several clashes, have paralysed the country but there have been no injuries.

– Guinea –

When? Since October 7.

Trigger? Accusations that President Alpha Conde is trying to circumvent a bar on a third term in office.

State of play? Thousands of people have joined a string of demonstrations organized by an alliance of opposition groups, the FNDC.

Toll? Around 10 protesters killed.

– Ecuador –

When? From October 1 to 13.

Trigger? The scrapping of fuel subsidies.

State of play? After 12 days of protests, President Lenin Moreno and the indigenous movement, which has spearheaded the demonstrations, reached an agreement under which the government reinstated fuel subsidies.

Toll? Eight killed and 1,340 injured.

– Iraq –

When? Since October 1.

Trigger? Spontaneous calls on social media to protest corruption, unemployment and poor public services.

State of play? After a week of protests that quickly escalated into clashes with security forces, the government announced reforms. Protesters continue to demand an end to corruption and unemployment, and an overhaul of the political system. On October 25 the protests resumed, with a new upsurge of violence, fanned by Shiite political leader Moqtada Sadr.

Toll? More than 150 dead the first week. At least 12 on Friday alone.

– Ongoing movements –

Other protest movements, which started earlier this year, are continuing:

– In Hong Kong, a protest movement started on June 9 in response to a draft government bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.

After months of regular protests, including some of the worst violence the former British colony has known, the extradition bill was withdrawn in September. But the campaign had already broadened to demand greater democratic freedoms.

Initially peaceful, the protests have degenerated into violent clashes between protesters and security forces.

– In Algeria, the decision by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term sparked a wave of peaceful demonstrations on February 22.

Bouteflika resigned in April but protesters continue to demand an overhaul of the entire political establishment. The opposition rejects elections under the current establishment, called for December 12.