How Global Protests 2011 became Drivers of Change

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2011 Global protests

The Global Protests of 2011 were a clear demonstration of anger and disappointment of the common man towards the increasing global financial inequality and the inefficiency of the government to address the same. The series of protests which was inspired by the Arab Spring, displayed intolerance towards what people called corporate greed, demanding ‘true democracy’. The protests were organised across the globe in 951 cities across 45 countries under the common slogan “United for #Global Change”. October 15 was dedicated as the Global Protests Day, marking the anniversary of the very first protest which broke out in Spain. Let us update ourselves with the details of the global event.

What will we understand in the article?

  • Some Facts about the Global Protests
  • Reasons behind the Protests
  • A Quick Background Check-The Arab Spring
  • Why the protests went Global
  • Outcome of the Global Protests
  • Wrapping Up

Some Facts about the Global Protests

  • Date- October 15, 2011
  • Location- Worldwide
  • Inspired by- Arab Spring
  • Method of Protest- Mostly peaceful (turned violent in some places)
  • Casualties and Losses- Approximately 950 arrests and 135 injured

Reasons Behind the Protests

A wave of protests was observed in Asia, America, and Europe where people displayed their discontent with the economic conditions of their nations and the ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor. People took protests as a means to address the following loopholes in the government system of their respective countries.

  • Economic Inequality
  • Lack of public participation at every level of democracy
  • Corporate influence over Government and International Organizations

A Quick Background Check

The Protests which were held worldwide took their inspiration from the series of events, the Arab Spring, the Icelandic Protests, the Portuguese Protests, the Spanish ‘Indignants, the Greek Protests and the Occupy Movement. 

The Arab Spring

A wave of protests swept across some Muslim countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, potent enough to cause a change in regimes. The movement sprouted when in December 2010, a Tunisian vegetable vendor set himself on fire as an act of protest when the local police arbitrarily seized his vegetable stand over failure to obtain a permit. The single act of protest caused street protests leading to regime change and triggered several mass demonstrations in other countries. In some countries like Syria and Yemen, the protests turned into full-scale civil wars.

The Icelandic Protests

The financial crisis in the country and the inability of the Government to handle the same caused the widespread protest across the nation. The protests which started in 2009 and ended in 2011 were the largest protests in Icelandic History. The active participation of the common man led to Government change.

Portuguese Protests

Dated March 12, 2011, the protests are popularly referred to as the Geração à Rasca meaning the ‘struggling generation’. The people protested against austerity, the economic crisis and labour rights. Through the impact of this anti-government movement, the common man realised that he had a voice in the matter of governance. On October 15, 2011, the day of Global Protests, over 80,000 people marched in protest in Lisbon.

The Spanish ‘Indignants’

The series of protests against the austerity policies the Spanish government broke out in May 2011. As per reports, approximately 8 million people participated in the movement which was against the government, banks and public corruption. The citizens demanded basic rights and a say in political matters.

The Greek Protests

The protests were organised in May 2010 against the austerity measures of cut in public spending and increased taxes by the Government. The demonstrations which were peaceful earlier turned violent in some places. The Greek protests led to the change in government whose austerity measures were well received across Greece.

The Occupy Movement

The mass movement started in September 2011 against the socio-economic inequality and the inefficiency of the Government to handle the same.

The participants actively used social media platforms like IRC, Facebook, Twitter and Meetup to coordinate events. The movement expected societal influence over Government.

Why the Protests went Global

The above movements which were inspired by one or the other sprouted other public demonstrations. People frustrated over negligence by the government resorted to protests demanding their basic rights. The peaceful groups turned violent in some cases but were mostly suppressed by authorities. People were arrested and injured, but they did leave an impact on their respective governments.

The outcome of the Global Protests of 2011

As quoted in the article posted at carnegieendowment.org , “It appears that a new era of political flux is emerging as citizens demand more from their government and mobilize in pursuit of their demands.”

In most of the cases, the protests were suppressed either by the creation of new policies or forcefully, but undoubtedly these demonstrations left a significant impact on the minds of the politicians and leaders. People proved that their indulgence in the functioning of the political system cannot be ignored.

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