Though these protests vary in cause, they all seek to bring about change in drastic ways.
Here in the United States, not all that much is happening in regard to conflict and change. A few climate protests, a visit from Greta Thunberg and some more booing of Trump have been things we’ve seen in the last few months. However, the rest of the world is a different story.
Across the world, massive protests and riots are breaking out, or have been raging for weeks, months or nearly a year. The most notable and currently reported on are the Hong Kong protests, which began after the introduction of a law that would give the Chinese government the right to extradite and try Hong Kong residents in mainland China. The protests quickly grew in size and the purpose drastically shifted to a pro-democracy rallying cry.
The protests began in June and quickly heated to a boiling point, with protesters throwing rocks and petrol bombs, and police responding in turn with tear gas. A new level of tension was reached in early October when a policeman shot a protestor in the chest, which was the first use of live rounds in the long, heated conflict. These protests gained an incredible amount of visibility after NBA executive Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the protesters and Hong Kong, which, surprisingly, drew reprimanding comments from stars like Lebron James and the basketball organization itself.
In late September and early October, protests broke out in Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, after a new criminal code was announced. The code would outlaw sex outside of marriage and go as far as setting a jail sentence of six months for unmarried couples living together, which is rather old-fashioned and outdated. Most of the protesters were students who had water cannons and tear gas mercilessly fired at them, but the protests succeeded in having their Parliament delay voting on the code.
Farmers in the Netherlands protested multiple times in October by rallying and blocking highways with their tractors. This was a result of Dutch Parliament members claiming that cattle farms in the Netherlands were causing too many emissions. These protests, while small and non-violent, show that the political and economical unrest in the world today extends to places one wouldn’t normally think of.
Farmers in France also took to the streets to protest their country’s agricultural policy. They held mass demonstrations twice in October, with over 10,000 protestors blocking the highways during the first demonstration on Oct. 8. However, these aren’t the only protests happening in France.
France has also seen over 48 consecutive weeks of protest by the “yellow vest” demonstrators. During the Global Climate Strike in September, they were also joined by their anarchist counterparts, the “Black Blocs” and after things turned violent, about 7,500 police had to be sent in to subdue things. They are expecting a massive turnout Nov. 17, which is the anniversary of the yellow vests movement.
To make matters worse, firefighters and policemen in Paris are also protesting. They are protesting for better living conditions and benefits, as Paris has seen a steady number of Officer suicides both this year and last. Protests striking out at the government also rage in the countries of Haiti, Peru and Lebanon. These range between a few similar reasons that generally point to government incompetence and corruption.
Small scale protests have broken out in England by the “Extinction Rebellion” group who are upset by Parliament’s lack of action in regard to the climate crisis, and protests are expected in Iraq due to the Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi because of the government’s inability to improve conditions like unemployment and public services.
Even with all of these protests across the globe, one of the fiercest yet is the rioting in Chile. It started with a simple student protest over the government raising subway fares by 3 percent but quickly escalated as students began hopping lines for free rides and the protest swept the nation. Then it picked up momentum, morphing into the protest it is now, a nationwide uprising demanding immediate economical and political changes. Despite emergency measures and the replacement of political leaders by the Chilean President, the riots still rage with at least 18 deaths and countless arrests amid massive outbreaks of violence and arson.
The people of Chile continue their uprising claiming “we are subjugated by the rich. It’s time for that to end,” according to The Guardian. Through all of this a few overarching connections can be made. The government is the catalyst behind most of these protests. The world is tired of inaction, tired of contentment and tired of those who would stand above them and limit their opportunities, limit their fate.
People are rallying behind change, behind progress. Many claim that violence and such methods are no way to create change. While there is some truth to this, not all change can be achieved in the same peaceful manner of the great historical figures of Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and Rosa Parks to name a few. The world is taking action, and change is coming.