Revolutions & protests in the history
Since the beginning of human history, we experienced a lot of revolutions and strikes, which led to significant changes in one or another sphere. The majority of them were violent and marked by terror and civil war causing many deaths. Starting from the 2000s protests and revolutions were mostly peaceful as a result of non-violent mass uprisings forced leaders from authority and guided into the new political systems.
Story of my country
I could never imagine that my country (Ukraine) will be marked twice by structural and revolution changes or, if taking into account as a part of the USSR, three times. During only 28 years of independence, we faced already the "Orange revolution" in 2004, which was a consequence of the run-off vote of the presidential election. It was claimed to be distorted by massive corruption and electoral deception. Kyiv was the focal point of the movement's campaign of the civil strike, including thousands of protesters demonstrating every day.
Nine years after that in 2013 other protests (at the beginning mainly by students) were sparked by the Ukrainian government's decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union. The scope of the protests soon broadened, with calls for the resignation of President Yanukovych and his government, that was successfully implemented but we paid a deadly toll for the freedom. Moreover, the revolution was followed by the annexation of Crimea and war conflict in the Eastern part of Ukraine, which is still continuing in the present days.
Unfortunately, my country is not alone in the transformational processes. This year massive protests and civil resistance is occurring worldwide, from Latin America to Asia, from Europe to Africa.
Worth to mention first Hong Kong, where pro-democracy demonstrations have been taking place for already four months. The major catalyst was the introduction of the bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China in certain circumstances. Despite the removal of the law, the leaderless marches are going on.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet in Barcelona already for one week, a number of marches took place, gathering together in the city centre all the people who are manifesting for human rights and political freedom. The major reason is a release of the decision to sentence of the 9 separatist politicians in Spain (from 9 to 13 years in prison) who took an active part in the referendum 2017 about Catalonia to become an independent country. First it started as peaceful gathering, but later on, descended into more and more violent tendencies.
Far away from the previous one, Latin American country Chile was caught up in riots over several days of protests against the rising cost of public transport. After that president repealed the resolution, but protests remained to show anger about low living conditions. All those led to the president's declaration of the state of emergency in Santiago and other Chilean cities. No one can predict how the conflict will escalate as the billionaire conservative president’s statements only add fuel to the flames.
Last, but not least, I would like to focus on the Western Asian country Lebanon. There, hundreds of thousands of people have been on the streets hostile about proposed new taxes - including one on voice calls via WhatsApp and other messaging services. As in the previous cases, the quick abandon after being announced last Thursday didn’t help to stop the unrest.
Are there any similarities?
As it was mentioned above all of the protests have different causes and backgrounds, but still, there are some things in common. For example, a political crisis that happened in both Barcelona and Hong Kong. The last one now serves as an example and “best practice” for the others as long term disobedience. Needed to say that majority of the unrests were sparkled by one particular thing, though in most instances, it was only a top of the iceberg! Furthermore, even when the first days of demonstrations had led to the withdrawal of the controversial legislation, the protests themselves continued.
It is connected to the fact that activists claimed more basic and grounded demands: economic, political or social justice. It includes a fight against inequality, in an example of Chile and Lebanon. Chile is one of the wealthiest Latin America countries at the same time faces the biggest range of income inequality. For a lot of crises, corruption is a similarly huge problem. Most importantly, all revolts are marked with people’s injuries and deaths. Thus, is it what we want to have in the "civilized" 21st century, where politicians only deeply concerned about what is going on?