By Nivedita Singh
New Delhi: Protests often make a cause long-lasting in history, and if we believe this statement, 2019 was one such year where people from across the globe stepped out on streets to protest for various reasons.
Countries across the globe have witnessed protests in 2019 large enough to disrupt the daily life and impactful enough to cause panic in the respective governments.
The history of India is full of protests — a tool which not only brought drastic political change in the country but also played an important role in giving freedom to the country.
India witnessed the latest protests across the country after the Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which now has become an Act.
Hundreds of thousands of people have come to the streets in the past few weeks as the nation witnessed huge violence and arson and clashes between police and the protesters in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, among other parts of the country.
The protests were so widespread that the administration had to shut down the Internet and had to impose Section 144 and curfew in several parts of the country including Delhi, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Assam, and Bengaluru.
Preceding the ongoing turmoil, the national capital also saw a massive protest by the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University against their fee hike in October.
The students, in hundreds, took to streets, blocked the roads and clashed with the police after a new hostel manual for the JNU students was made public.
They were also protesting against the fee hike by the university. The students garnered support from the students of the other universities in Delhi as well.
In November, the national capital witnessed an unprecedented protest by the Delhi police when hundreds of Police personnel held a protest outside the Police Headquarters (PHQ) at ITO against repeated incidents of violence against them by lawyers.
The lawyers too disrupted the work in the courts protesting against the police which resulted in lockdown, leaving litigants to suffer.
Apart from this, Delhi and other parts of the country also saw huge protests after the brutal gang-rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad. Also, it was among the massive protests the country witnessed related to crime against women after 2012 when a woman was brutally gang-raped in Delhi.
In India, the new year 2019 was welcomed amid protests for women’s entry in Sabrimala temple in Kerala after in 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that women of all age groups can enter Sabarimala temple. People have protested against the verdict.
The protest across the South Indian states intensified after two women belonging to the previously barred age group entered the temple on January 2 with the help of the police.
The financial capital of India, Mumbai, also witnessed massive protests against an order from the Reserve Bank of India in September imposing regulatory restrictions on the Punjab and Maharashtra (PMC) bank for six months over alleged financial irregularities. The depositors have been protesting in different parts of Maharashtra.
India also joined the global climate change protest, to demand action be taken to address climate change.
Young school children stepped out to bring the attention of the policymakers on climate change. Greta Thunberg, a school going girl from Sweden, had started the movement, which gathered support from the students and adults across the globe.
Not just India, but the world too witnessed massive protests.
Hong Kong has been facing protests since June, where activists came to streets and the police have allegedly fired more than 10,000 rounds of tear gas across the city. The people living in Hong Kong have been protesting against an extradition bill demanding its withdrawal.
Massive anti-government protests were also staged in Lebanon’s largest cities, with demonstrators demanding the departure of the ruling class amid calls for a general strike. The protests broke out in mid-October when the Lebanese government announced its intention to approve a rate of 20 cents a day for voice calls on social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook or Viber in an attempt to increase revenue for the indebted state.
Chile is facing civil unrest since October. The Latin American country has been beset by unrest when protests against a now-suspended hike in subway fares in capital Santiago escalated to a wider movement demanding lower living costs and greater income equality.
At least 20 people have been killed and hundreds more injured amid clashes between protesters and police, looting and arson attacks in Chile, according to local authorities.
In Iraq, the protesters came out on streets demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services and more job opportunities.
At least 485 people have been killed and 27,000 others injured in the widespread anti-government protests that took place across Iraq since October.
These are among the few prominent protests the world faced in 2019, the list, although is very long.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])