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Anti-Government Protests Sweep the Globe

HeadlineOct 21, 2019

A series of protests have swept the globe in recent days, from South America to Asia to the Middle East. In Chile, as many as eight people have died in widespread unrest that has rocked the country. President Sebastián Piñera has canceled the subway fee hike that initially sparked the protests, but demonstrations continue to grow, with a national strike called for today. Piñera declared a state of emergency in Santiago and five other cities over the weekend, imposing a curfew and sending the military into the streets in response to civil unrest for the first time since dictator Augusto Pinochet’s nearly 20-year regime. At least 1,400 protesters have been detained across the country. Meanwhile, in London, up to a million people gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to reject Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. It was one of the largest public demonstrations in British history. Massive anti-government protests are also growing in Lebanon, with reports of well over a million people pouring into the streets Sunday. Prime Minister Saad Hariri has given his coalition government a deadline of today to agree on reforms to appease the demonstrators, but many are already calling for his ouster.

Hiba Zbeidi: “We want the three of them to leave: President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri. If they don’t leave, we will stay on the street. We are going to sleep here.”

That’s Lebanese protester Hiba Zbeidi. In Haiti, demonstrators are also calling for the ouster of the government there. At least 30 have been killed in widespread unrest in recent weeks, with protesters demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. In Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands flooded the streets Sunday as young people continue to call for more autonomy from Beijing. In Azerbaijan, dozens of people were arrested in protests Sunday against corruption, a lack of democracy and low salaries. In Barcelona, demonstrations continue following last week’s jailing of nine separatist leaders over Catalonia’s 2017 bid for independence. And in Pakistan, thousands marched through the streets of Islamabad Sunday to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Raja Mehtab Ashraf: “Today, 8 million people are victims to curfew in occupied Kashmir. After the passing of 75 days, people remain under siege at their homes. This rally is to shake the conscience of the international community so that they can pay attention to the issue and Kashmiri people can get their fundamental right to self-determination.”

That was protester Raja Mehtab Ashraf. In August, India withdrew Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, detaining thousands of people and cutting off all internet and other communications. The move has heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed powers. At least nine people were killed over the weekend as India and Pakistan exchanged fire over the line dividing the disputed territory.

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