What brought people to the streets.

In October, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Iraq, Spain, Lebanon, Chile and Ecuador, and the rallies in Hong Kong don’t stop with the spring. In summer, massive protests swept the Czech Republic, Algeria and Sudan, writes

What is behind the discontent of the people, and that is common in these protests with Russian rallies?


Protesters in many countries combines disappointment in the ruling elites, whom they blame unfair distribution of wealth and corruption.

In several countries people took to the streets to stop the price increase or the introduction of new taxes.

Last week, Lebanon was gripped by the most massive protests over the past 15 years. It all started with the government’s decision to introduce a tax on calls to WhatsApp and other messengers. The government soon abandoned this plan, but the protests have not stopped.

Protesters point to the inability of the government to provide basic services – uninterrupted supply of electricity and water, and extremely high external debt, at around 150% of GDP. Remembered $ 16 million that Prime Minister Saad Hariri presented a model from South Africa, where he was vacationing in the Seychelles.

On Monday, the government adopted a reform program, which includes reduced wages for politicians, but the protests continue.

Photo: AFP

In Ecuador demonstrations began after the government’s decision to abolish subsidies on fuel, leading to higher prices for gasoline. The protesters blocked roads, stormed the Parliament and was involved in clashes with the police. In the end the government agreed to accept their demand to repeal the controversial measure.

In another country of Latin America, a similar decision led to similar results. When the Chilean government announced the increase of fares in buses and metro, thousands of people took to the streets of Santiago. As in Ecuador, the Chilean government made concessions to protesters, but demonstrations did not cease.

Corruption and political freedom

Photo: Getty Images

In Iraq, mass protests led to the death of 157 people, according to official data, thousands of people were injured. The demonstrations began spontaneously in early October, involving mostly young Iraqis. They are unhappy with corruption, unemployment, and a system in which government positions are distributed by quotas for religious groups, not on merit.

In September in Egypt, too, the protests were caused by allegations of corruption against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup.

In Hong Kong, the demonstrations do not stop in the spring, when the government submitted to Parliament a draft law on the extradition of citizens to the authorities of mainland China. The bill was withdrawn, but an unsanctioned rally continues today. The protesters are demanding the extension of voting rights, Amnesty for protesters and investigate the police violence.

Tactics of the Hong Kong protests were inspired by and in Barcelona, where hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in protest against harsh sentences to the leaders of the movement for the independence of Catalonia. As in Hong Kong, protesters in Barcelona have blocked the airport.

Global warming

Photo: Reuters

In October in 60 cities around the world held protests of environmental activists – among them London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Sydney. The requirement for these shares to take urgent measures to reduce polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

In London, members of the movement, Extinction of Rebellion (“Rebellion endangered”) repeatedly blocked the movement of cars and public transport in Central London, including three metro stations in the evening rush hour. During the “autumn uprising” movement, police arrested more than 1.5 thousand people.

New 1968…

“The world is experiencing a new 1968,” says bi-Bi-si Alexander Baunov, editor As in 1968, different countries being convulsed by protests that differ on their agenda.

“In France in 1968 students were protesting against the bourgeois values of the old establishment and the traditional politicians. Parisian students pretended that inspired by socialism and Mao Zedong, “- said Baunov. Simultaneously there was the “Prague spring”, which, by contrast, were capitalist and democratic agenda, reminded the expert.

Photo: EPA

In Iraq, mass protests began in the provinces, and then swept and Baghdad

Common between protests then and now was “breaking the status quo”.

“People are also unhappy with different things, but there is a General feeling that the world order has become obsolete and it’s time to change, – the expert added. – Doomed the Hong Kong political protest looks like, and in fact it is social. In Chile, where a democracy of the European type, there is frustration that, despite the regular change of power, nothing has changed the social and life remains difficult.”

According to Baunova in Moscow “all the discontent comes down to the lack of democracy, but if Russia was a democratic country, she would have been captured by the protest wave, which otherwise would be expressed”.

He suggested that in world politics “there is a recurrence similar to the cyclical nature of the global economic crises that affect a wide variety of economy”.

Or unrelated protests?

Photo: AFP

Experts argue about when the Russian protests to the global processes

At rallies in different parts of the world, “little in common”, on the contrary I am convinced Dmitry Travin, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for modernization studies at the European University in St. Petersburg. Even similar tactics protests in Barcelona and Hong Kong differ substantially.

“Humanity is constantly protests a year ago, we would have found a lot of protests in different parts of the world,” added Travin.

“In Russia, protests related to the domination of an authoritarian regime,” – said the expert. The banning of independent candidates in Moscow – the only reason, “the appeal is the very existence of the Putin regime.”

Even different protests in Russia affect different segments of the population, says Travin. Protest against waste dump Cheese was a matter of “survival” for the region’s residents, while in Moscow to protest enough wealthy people who “think about development and not about survival.”