We the People vs Fascism

2019 will be remembered as the year of the uprising, from Hongkong to the Middle East to Europe and Latin America and finally India, the people were angry and the streets were on fire. People are fed up with the dictators and right-wing leaders, and all of this is triggered by unfair legislation to climate change to the fare hike.

As anti-democratic and right-wing forces take hold in many places, people are fighting to keep grassroots democracy alive.

Across the globe 2019 has been a year of major protest demonstrations erupted over corruption, taxes, climate change, and much more, fed up with measures imposed by ruling governments.

Anger raged across nearly every continent millions rallying against their governments to tell their leaders this isn’t good enough.

Paris

Take the yellow vest movement in France and explosive start to the year. Tens of thousands of angry protesters put on their yellow vest and hit the streets.

After an online petition posted in May had attracted nearly a million signatures, mass demonstrations began on 17 November 2018.

The movement was initially motivated by rising fuel prices and a high cost of living gradually morphed into a broader campaign against French president Emmanuel Macron.

It claims that a disproportionate burden of the government’s tax reforms was falling on the working and middle classes especially in rural and peri-urban areas.

Algeria

In February a financial crisis and widespread fatigue at the decades-long rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sparked Algeria’s biggest protests in more than twenty years.

The 2019 Algerian protests, also called the Revolution of Smiles or Hirak Movement, began on 16 February 2019, six days after Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth presidential term in a signed statement. These protests, without precedent since the Algerian Civil War, have been peaceful and led the military to insist on Bouteflika’s immediate resignation, which took place on 2 April 2019.

By early May, a significant number of power-brokers close to the deposed administration, including the former president’s younger brother Saïd, had been arrested.

But this wasn’t enough for Algerians who carried on marching for months calling for sweeping government with reforms

Hong Kong

In HongKong peaceful marches started in March over a controversial extradition bill, which by summer escalated into the city’s biggest political crisis in modern times lifting the lid on frustrations and a lack of full autonomy going back decades.

The week after week, month after month pro-democracy anti-government protests rocked the semi-autonomous city leading to thousands of arrests and constant clashes between police and protesters.

Withdrawing the bill wasn’t enough to stop demonstrators battle for greater democracy well what has become one of the most defining movements of the year.

Venezuela

Democracy was also on the lips of protesters in Venezuela at the end of April the country seems to be on the verge of historic military and civilian uprising against the Maduro regime.

Frustrated over the country’s years-long slide into hyperinflation and government corruption angry protesters had been taking to the streets for months backing young opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his calls for democratic change but the months of protests largely gave way after a failed coup.

A crisis concerning who is the legitimate President of Venezuela has been underway since 10 January 2019, with the nation and the world divided in support for Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó.

Cuba

A one-day event during the annual May Day protests millions of Cubans took to the streets in a government-organized event to protest US sanctions imposed on the island and its neighbors. Cubans were not the only ones protesting a foreign power.

London

In June US President Donald trump’s official visit to London was greeted with mocking effigies and streets filled with thousands of peaceful protesters.

Demonstrators objected to trump’s policies on issues such as climate change women’s reproductive rights.

Moscow, Russia

July ushered in protest of a less peaceful nature Moscow saw the start of the summer of discontent with tens of thousands of protesters calling for fair and free local elections.

Police made sweeping arrests of demonstrators across the country detaining thousands and similar scenes unfolded in several other places throughout 2019 like Hong Kong, France marking another pattern of the year as rests became the norm and protests across the globe.

Sudan

Things got even uglier, August marked the culmination of nine months of chaos in clashes in Sudan.

On 19 December 2018, a series of demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese cities, due in part to rising costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society.

The protests quickly turned from demands for urgent economic reforms into demands for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

The violence of the government’s reaction to these peaceful demonstrations sparked international concern. On 22 February 2019, al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers.

On 8 March, al-Bashir announced that all of the women jailed for protesting against the government would be released. On the weekend of 6–7 April, there were massive protests for the first time since the declaration of the state of emergency. On 10 April, soldiers were seen shielding protesters from security forces, and on 11 April, the military removed al-Bashir from power in a coup d’état.

After bringing down the brutal thirty-year dictatorship of al-Bashir, demonstrations continue to call for a peaceful transition of power to democracy but that hope took a fatal blow when a bloody military crackdown left more than a hundred people dead in June.

By September the country was on the path to a transition away from military rule.

Climate change

End of many strikes in twenty nineteen we’re all about domestic issues in individual countries there was one topic that resonated with people across borders and time zones, millions took to the streets calling on politicians to address the climate emergency.

Inspired by sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, people across the world United to demand action.

Chile

As the end of the year drew closer this wave of global protests didn’t show any sign of slowing down instead of events heated up.

The 2019 Chilean protests are ongoing civil protests throughout Chile in response to a rise in the Santiago Metro’s subway fare, the increased cost of living, privatization, and inequality prevalent in the country.

The protests began in Chile’s capital, Santiago, as a coordinated fare evasion campaign by secondary school students which led to spontaneous takeovers of the city’s main train stations and open confrontations with the Carabineros de Chile (the national militarized police force).

On 18 October, the situation escalated as a group of people began vandalizing the city’s infrastructure; seizing, vandalizing, and burning down many stations of the Santiago Metro network and disabling them with extensive infrastructure damage, and for a time causing the cessation of the network in its entirety.

All in all 81 stations have sustained major damage, including 17 burned down. On the same day, President of Chile Sebastián Piñera announced a state of emergency, authorizing the deployment of Chilean Army forces across the main regions to enforce order and prevent the destruction of public property, and invoked before the courts the Ley de Seguridad del Estado (“State Security Law”) against dozens of detainees.

A curfew was declared on 19 October in the Greater Santiago area.[18][19]

In October over a million Chileans took to the streets throughout the country demanding president Sebastián Piñera resignation.

As the protest went on demonstrators resorted to sometimes radical tactics setting fires to shut down the capital of Santiago’s entire metro system when using lasers to fight off police.

Lebanon

The 2019 Lebanese protests constitute a reaction against the sectarian rule, a stagnant economy, unemployment, endemic corruption in the public sector, legislation (such as banking secrecy) that is perceived to shield the ruling class from accountability and failures from the government to provide basic services such as electricity, water, and sanitation.

The protests were triggered by planned taxes on gasoline, tobacco and online phone calls such as through WhatsApp, as country-wide protests broke out on 17 October 2019 right after Cabinet talks of the taxes, due to be ratified by 22 October.

On 29 October, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the resignation of his government in response to the protests. Protests have since continued and are calling for binding parliamentary consultations to form a new government of competent and independent specialists and for the resignation of Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and President Michel Aoun.

Protesters in Lebanon also put novel tactics to good use in October as they formed a human chain the length of the country.

Iraq

The 2019 Iraqi protests, also named the Tishreen Revolution and 2019 Iraqi Intifada, are an ongoing series of protests that consisted of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and civil disobedience.

They started on 1 October 2019, a date which was set by civil activists on social media, spreading over the central and southern provinces of Iraq, to protest 16 years of corruption, unemployment and inefficient public services, before they escalated into calls to overthrow the administration and to stop Iranian intervention in Iraq.

The Iraqi government has been accused of using bullets, snipers, hot water, hot pepper gas and tear gas against protesters.

The protests stopped on 8 October and resumed on 25 October. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced on 29 November that he would resign.[12] On 26 December, President Barham Salih submitted a letter of resignation after refusing to appoint the governor of Basra Asaad Al Eidani as the new Prime Minister, stating that Al Eidani would not be approved by the demonstrators.

Iran

Sanctions by the United States and the European Union, coupled with economic mismanagement, have led to a severe economic crisis in Iran in the past few years. Before the unrest, current President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani said, “Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution”. Iranian allies in Lebanon and Iraq have also witnessed anti-government protests.

At midnight on 15 November 2019, the Iranian government announced that it would increase the price of fuel.

Sparked by the hike in oil prices the protests were widely seen as an outcry towards issues of government corruption and theft and had the goal of overthrowing the Iranian government.

Government mismanagement led to rapid inflation which sent an additional 1.6 million Iranians into poverty in just a single year before the protest.

Month after month the human cost of demonstrations in 2019 became more staggering as hundreds were killed in Iraq in November, hundreds more in Iran the same month.

Both countries have imposed internet blackouts that had hindered news of these death tolls from spreading quickly run also closed its borders hoping to stem on rest.

India

India joined the protest in December when the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), was passed by the Parliament of India, which amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant a swifter path to Indian citizenship under the assumption of religious persecution to any individual belonging to the specific minorities of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014.

Critics state that the Amended Act is unconstitutional. The major opposition political parties state that it violates the Constitution’s Article 14, one that guarantees equality to all.

After the bill was approved on 4 December 2019, violent protests erupted in Assam, especially in Guwahati, and other areas in the state. Reactionary protests were held as well in several metropolitan cities across India, including Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

Reactionary protests were also held at universities across the country including Cotton University, Gauhati University, IIT Bombay, Presidency University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Osmania University, University of Hyderabad, University of Delhi, Panjab University and Aligarh Muslim University.

By 16 December, the protests had spread across India with demonstrations occurring in at least 17 cities including Chennai, Jaipur, Bhopal, Lucknow, and Puducherry.

Between 16 to 18 December, a statement of solidarity “condemning the recent police action and brutalization of students at Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University” had acquired many signatories from universities, colleges, and academic institutions across the world.

Scholars from major academic institutions in India, including JNU, Delhi University, all the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Statistical Institute, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, among many others had signed the solidarity statement.

On 19 December police banned protests in several parts of India with the imposition of Section 144 which prohibits the gathering of more than 4 individuals in a public space as being unlawful, namely, parts of the capital New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka, including Bangalore.

As Section 144 was imposed, the students of IIM-Bangalore demonstrate their protest peacefully by laying shoes and placards in front of the institute gate, which they called the Shoe Satyagraha.[1] Following IIM-Ahmedabad and Bangalore, IIM-Calcutta raised their voice peacefully in solidarity against the Act and the brutal misconduct by police against the students who were protesting all over the country.

Police in various states denied permission for marches, rallies or any other demonstration. Internet services were also shut down in some parts of Delhi. As a result of defying the ban, thousands of protesters were detained, primarily in Delhi, including several opposition leaders and activists.

Protesters heavily used the poetry written by well-known poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Habib Jalib, both considered symbols of resistance against military dictatorships and state oppression in Pakistan. Poems such as Hum Dekhenge (We will witness) penned by Faiz and “Main nahin janta, main nahin manta” (I do not recognize, I will not accept) penned by Jalib inspired large scale protests in form of banners and recitations.

Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Haamara (Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan) by famous Urdu poet Muhammad Iqbal is a common and familiar song and recited in the protests.

Conclusion

In some cases, leaders stepped down and governments bow to some demands even when concessions were made they did little to take the wind out of these moves.

The anger, frustration, and yearning for change stayed strong with many more protests raging across the globe from Bolivia to Haiti to Zimbabwe to name just a few.

2019 might be remembered as the year people pushed for quality justice and autonomy with new ferocity leaving powerful marks upon the world.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_Amendment_Act_protests

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Iraqi_protests

I am an author, lifetime learner, psychologist, futurist, business analyst, and thinker.