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In the year of protests

In the year of protests

2019 was a year of protests around the world. Citizens in different countries across the globe continue to raise their voices against the decisions of their government, protest injustices, demand reforms and even push for regime change. Other than India, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Algeria, Haiti, Spain, Hong Kong, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Sudan are some of the countries where millions of people were pushed their breaking points. Beginning in January 2019, the world turned its attention to Venezuela, where opposition leader Guaidó had declared himself president instead of incumbent, longtime President Maduro. Nations were quick to take sides as protests in the Latin American nation swelled over the presidential crisis. As matters compounded, people in thousands fled to Columbia while many were out on the streets protesting. However, Maduro remains in power and inflation continues to soar in Venezuela and living conditions plummet. The soaring cost of daily necessities sparked protests that spiraled into major movements in countries like France, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Sudan and Chile too. Inequality, corruption, and bad governance became unacceptable to people who registered their dissent against their respective states. Each protest happened in for its own unique aim, the most crucial point of consideration is that the erupting protests throughout the world signaled critical shifts in the ways in which governments and citizens relate. Mass protests even ousted longtime leaders in some cases, as in the case of Sudan: Omar al-Bashir who is wanted for war crimes for his role in genocide in Darfur, was ousted after 30 years in power following mass protests that gripped the nation. It had all begun with protests over the price of bread and eventually escalated into calls for regime change. In December, Bashir was sentenced to two years in detention as the country makes its three-year transition into a democracy. Puerto Rico saw the resignation of Ricardo Rossello after eruption of mass protests concerning leaked messages revealing corruption and bigotry. However, in some cases, mass protests stalled or stagnated, leaving governments and citizens in precarious states, as in the case of Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro was expected to start his sixth term in office in January but violent protests called in question his leadership with the rise of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed presidency on constitutional grounds. A standoff endures as embattled Maduro continued to lead. In the small Carrebian nation of Haiti, protesters spoke out against mass corruption committed by Haiti's political class. A group of young protesters known as the PetroChallengers has been fighting against the embezzlement of funds well over $1 billion received through Venezuela's discounted PetroCaribe oil alliance programme. Closer to India, in Hong Kong, an extradition bill sparked the fuse for massive student-led, pro-democracy movement. Protests turned violent as thousands of Hong Kongers fought to resist the interference from Beijing under the promise of a "one country, two systems". In the very many protests that made international headlines in 2019, one thing comes very evident, that the common people collectively wield a lot of power and this can make big changes happen.

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