It's all Kicking Off

Mary Fitzerald

Over the past two months or so the list of countries engulfed by mass protests has grown ever longer—Chile. Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Haiti, Hong Kong, India and Spain, to name a few.

There's a temptation to draw connections. It's true that many of the protests have been sparked by the failure of states to meet basic needs—from unaffordable public transport in Chile to water and electricity blackouts in Iraq and Lebanon. And the response has been almost uniformly violent, with many governments unleashing their security forces against civilian.

But that's not the whole story. Each unfolding event has its own complex local dynamics, and it's impossible to understand how people arrived here without taking a longer view.

In Algeria, demonstrations are now entering their 38th consecutive week. The movement has just published an analysis by Algerian academics of where it might go next North Africa-West Asia Project (NAWA) has also been reporting from the more nascent uprising in Iraq and Lebanon with dispatches from Beirut and Baghdad.

Latin America has been another hotspot of popular discontent. On Democracia Abierta, Alexis Cortes explains why the demonstrations that have seized Chile go much deeper than 30 pesos rise in the price of a metro ticket.

Finally, in Spain, the sentencing of separatist leaders has lit a fire under the Catalonia independence movement. Democracy in Spain has been curtailed. While James McEnaney bears witnesses to three turbulent nights in Girona that saw repeated clashes between locals and police.

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Vol. 52, No. 25, Dec 22 - 28, 2019