Protests Surging Around the World

The long hot months of summer are usually the point when emotions boil over into the form of chaotic and often violent protests in different parts of the world. This year September and October seem to be the new hot spot for protests around the world.

protests around the world

Yesterday I posted about the growing violence in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands took to the streets there this weekend and we can anticipate a violent crackdown in response at any moment.

protests around the world

Two weeks ago I wrote about the surprising protests in Egypt. While there are plenty of reasons for unrest in the nation, the danger posed by President Sisi’s violent and oppressive regime have always acted as a deterrent. In the days after I posted that article in fact Sisi did crackdown on the protesters. Nearly 2,300 protesters were arrested. As many as 400 people a day were questioned. According to the New York Times: Police stations and prisons are so overstuffed that detainees are being housed in state security camps around greater Cairo, where there are not enough toilets to meet the growing need. Some prisoners have gone without food or water; virtually none have been allowed to speak to their families.

protests around the world
Fake blood flows at anti-extinction protests in Paris

Climate change activists are participating in protests across the globe this week in what is billed as anti-extinction protests. Dozens were arrested this weekend according to the BBC. Fifty people were detained in Amsterdam. Thirty were arrested in Sydney Australia.

Demonstrators gesture at a protest over unemployment, corruption and poor public services, in Baghdad, Iraq October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

In Iraq, massive protests surged this weekend inspired by economic conditions. Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of oil, but 22.5% of its population of 40 million were living on less than $1.90 a day in 2014, according to the World Bank. One in six households has experienced some form of food insecurity. The unemployment rate was 7.9% last year, but among young people, it was double that. And almost 17% of the economically active population is underemployed (BBC).

This weekend Iraqi security forces cracked down on protesters. More than a hundred were killed. Over 6,000 were injured.

We can’t forget about Brexit where protests continue to mount. We are weeks away from a possible hard exit for Britain from the European Union.

What Protests Around the World Have in Common

All of the protests have one thing in common. They largely consist of young people. This may seem like an obvious point. Young people protest. It is actually indicative of a widespread global problem. The growing populations around the world feature young people who are disenchanted with the economic and political realities they are living within. In many instances, such as Iraq and Egypt, they were promised the democratic and capitalist dreams only to find corruption and incompetence among their governments have left them stranded.

Watch this demographic in the coming days, weeks and months. We are on the precipice of a breakdown. These oddly timed protests could be only the beginning.


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JB Shreve is the author of "How the World Ends: Understanding the Growing Chaos." He has been the host of the End of History podcast since 2012. He has degrees in International Relations and Middle East Studies. His other books include the Intelligence Brief Series. Regular posts and updates from JB Shreve are available at