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A surge in protests around the world in October

The past weeks have seen a wave of often unprecedented protest movements erupt in countries around the world.

Here is an overview of the main ones that started this month and others that are continuing.

– Bolivia –

AFP / JORGE BERNALPeople demonstrate during a general strike in la Paz, Bolivia on October 25, 2019.Bolivian President Evo Morales declared victory Thursday in elections whose disputed results have triggered riots, a general strike and opposition charges that he is trying to steal the election to secure a fourth straight term.

When? Since October 21.

Trigger? The disputed results of the October 20 presidential election which gave outgoing leader Evo Morales almost outright victory for a fourth term.

State of play? There has been violence in several regions; a general strike was launched on October 23.

Toll? Several people have been injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morales.

– Chile –

AFP / Claudio REYESRiot police clash with demonstrators in Santiago on October 24, 2019 after a week of street violence which erupted against a now suspended metro fare hike but spiralled into general discontent.A general strike in Chile went into its second day following a week of street protests for general discontent at low salaries and pensions, high costs of health care and education, and a yawning gap between rich and poor, that left 18 dead.

When? Since October 18.

Trigger? An increase in the price of metro tickets in the capital.

State of play? President Sebastian Pinera suspended the price hike and then announced social measures such as increased pensions and lower electricity costs. But the protests spread, including complaints about living costs and social inequality. A general strike started on October 23.

Toll? 18 dead.

– Lebanon –

AFP / Ibrahim AMROSupporters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement drive in a convoy in support of its leader Hassan Nasrallah’s speech, in the southern suburbs of Beirut on October 25, 2019.Tensions rattled Lebanon’s nine-day protest movement today, with a powerful Shiite leader seeking to diffuse them by calling his supporters away from the street. Nasrallah, in a televised speech warned that any cabinet resignation would lead to “chaos and collapse” of the economy.

When? Since October 17.

Trigger? A proposed tax on calls made through messaging apps.

State of play? The government of Saad Hariri quickly axed the measure and announced emergency economic reforms. But the protests have widened to demand the removal of the entire political class.

Toll? Peaceful protests, marked by several clashes, have paralysed the country but there have been no injuries.

– Guinea –

AFP / CELLOU BINANIGuineans wearing red in honour of those killed during demonstrations take part in a protest against the third term of the Guinean President, on October 24, 2019 in Conakry.Crowds of protesters marched through the Guinean capital of Conakry on October 24 in the latest round of demonstrations against President Alpha Conde, accused of trying to circumvent a bar on a third term in office

When? Since October 7.

Trigger? Accusations that President Alpha Conde is trying to circumvent a bar on a third term in office.

State of play? Thousands of people have joined a string of demonstrations organised by an alliance of opposition groups, the FNDC.

Toll? Around 10 protesters killed.

– Ecuador –

AFP / Luis ROBAYOAn Ecuadorean indigenous woman carries a jug with milk to sell in Cayambe, Ecuador on October 16, 2019.Ecuadorean indigenous people return to their daily life after reaching an agreement with Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno to end violent protests regarding a fuel price rise.

When? From October 1 to 13.

Trigger? The scrapping of fuel subsidies.

State of play? After 12 days of protests, President Lenin Moreno and the indigenous movement, which has spearheaded the demonstrations, reached an agreement under which the government reinstated fuel subsidies.

Toll? Eight killed and 1,340 injured.

– Iraq –


When? Since October 1.

Trigger? Spontaneous calls on social media to protest corruption, unemployment and poor public services.

State of play? After a week of protests that quickly escalated into clashes with security forces, the government announced reforms. Protesters continue to demand an end to corruption and unemployment, and an overhaul of the political system. On October 25 the protests resumed, with a new upsurge of violence, fanned by Shiite political leader Moqtada Sadr.

Toll? More than 150 dead the first week. At least 12 on Friday alone.

– Ongoing movements –

Other protest movements, which started earlier this year, are continuing:

AFP / Philip FONGHigh school students take part in a human chain rally outside Kowloon park in Hong Kong on October 25, 2019.Hong Kong has been battered by more than four months of sometimes violent unrest that have battered the economy, sparked by a now-shelved bill allowing extraditions to the mainland but have since morphed into a movement demanding greater democracy and police accountability.

– In Hong Kong, a protest movement started on June 9 in response to a draft government bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.

After months of regular protests, including some of the worst violence the former British colony has known, the extradition bill was withdrawn in September. But the campaign had already broadened to demand greater democratic freedoms.

Initially peaceful, the protests have degenerated into violent clashes between protesters and security forces. Numerous pro-democracy activists have been attacked by supporters of mainland China. On October 1 police shot a protestor with a live bullet but he survived.