An anti-government protester waves a Chilean flag in Santiago, Oct. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Chile witnessed the largest protests in its history last weekend, with more than 1 million people filling the streets of Santiago to demand the government deal with economic inequality and the high cost of living—and to express their outrage over the authorities’ repression of an initial wave of protests earlier this month. For a moment, the massive demonstrations seemed like the climax to a movement that began two weeks ago in response to a subway fare hike, and that had seemed to be on the cusp of fizzling out. Instead, protests have continued this week, and more are planned for […]

Algerian students take to the streets to protest against the government, Algiers, Oct. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Fateh Guidoum).

Mass protests are unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa, as demonstrators take to the streets to decry a wide range of social and political ills. From Algiers to Khartoum, Beirut to Baghdad, the list of grievances includes rampant corruption, economic malaise, oppression and sectarian divisions. The protests have already resulted in the ouster of two leaders this year, in Sudan and Algeria. In other countries, demonstrators have clashed with security forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries, and many more arrests. Given their wide geographic scope, the protests have drawn comparisons to the Arab uprisings that swept […]

An anti-government protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

From Lebanon and Iraq to Ecuador and Chile, popular protests have shaken governments and captured the imagination of pundits worldwide in the past few weeks. Combined with the mass demonstrations that forced regimes in Algeria and Sudan to cast aside longtime leaders earlier this year, as well as the Yellow Vest movement that stunned France from December 2018 through the late spring, some observers are wondering whether we are witnessing a revolutionary moment of global proportions. Has popular dissatisfaction with the unfair distribution of globalization’s spoils reached a tipping point? Or are these protests locally driven, offering little or no […]

Afghan security forces stand guard in front of an election poster for President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

Anyone following the ongoing controversies over Afghanistan’s recent presidential election will understandably have a sense of déjà vu. Nearly a month after Afghans voted on Sept. 28, not only is there no clear winner, there is not even any word on when preliminary results will be announced. Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani remains in office while Abdullah Abdullah, the national unity government’s chief executive and Ghani’s leading challenger, is once again crying foul over allegations of polling fraud. Officials at the Independent Election Commission, or IEC, are struggling to sort out how many voters actually turned out, after suspicions surfaced that […]

An anti-government protester waves a Chilean flag during clashes with police amid a general strike in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Luis Hidalgo).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about the protest movements in Lebanon and Chile, and the challenges they face in trying to bring down entrenched elites. They also discuss Bolivia’s contested presidential election and the implications for President Evo Morales’ legacy. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three more […]

Anti-government protesters wave Lebanese flags and shout slogans against the Lebanese government during a protest in Beirut, Oct. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Historic anti-government protests in Lebanon have shut down the country over the past week, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Beirut and far beyond to demand the government’s resignation. Prime Minister Saad Hariri addressed the nation on Oct. 18, promising immediate reforms, but his words ultimately rang hollow as Lebanese continued to demonstrate in growing numbers. The Lebanese Forces, a prominent Christian political party, has already resigned its Cabinet members. The initial demonstrations in downtown Beirut late last week were a response to reports that the government would impose a $6 fee on the use […]

A protester faces off with an armored police vehicle during an anti-government march in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Until just a few days ago, Chile probably looked to most people like the most stable country in Latin America, and the least likely to erupt in massive social unrest. Few if any countries in the region have experienced decades of economic growth and an expansion of the middle class, alongside reliably fair and competitive elections. And yet last week, the streets of Santiago became the scene of violent clashes between thousands of protesters and security forces, leaving more than a dozen people dead and hundreds arrested. In response, President Sebastian Pinera deployed the military, imposed curfews and announced a […]

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, May 6, 2011 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

It’s not every day that one gets a chance to assess a Trump administration decision made on what looks like solid foreign policy principles. But unexpectedly last week, the State Department announced that it had established new rules governing the activities of Chinese diplomats posted to the United States. The changes require Chinese envoys to notify the State Department in advance of “official meetings with representatives of states, local and municipal governments; official visits to educational institutions and official visits to research institutions” in the U.S. Since the rationale given for this measure was reciprocity, meaning that Washington claims to […]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the InterContinental Barclay hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The protests may have ended, but the past few weeks in Egypt have indicated that, rather than a model of authoritarian stability, the regime that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has built is one of authoritarian fragility. And the regime’s actions make clear that it knows it. On Sept. 20, nationwide political protests broke out in Egypt for the first time since a brutal crackdown on demonstrators following the 2013 coup d’etat against President Mohamed Morsi that brought Sisi to power. The protests were sparked by a series of viral videos by an Egyptian actor and contractor named Mohamed Ali, who […]

Demonstrators during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 29, 2019 (AP Photo by Dmitri Lovetsky).

Despite the much-lamented global democratic recession, recent protests in Hong Kong, Russia and elsewhere testify to the innate human desire for freedom and dignity. The question of when and how to support such movements can create excruciating dilemmas for external actors, state and nonstate alike. In a provocative new report, “Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance,” Peter Ackerman and Hardy Merriman of the Washington-based International Center on Non-Violent Conflict, or ICNC, set out the dos and don’ts for those who would assist local struggles against authoritarian rule. […]

LGBT activists marching in the country’s first-ever Pride parade in downtown Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sept. 8, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Bandic).

Bosnia and Herzegovina hosted its first Pride parade last month, as LGBT activists and supporters marched in the capital, Sarajevo, amid heavy security. Bosnia is the last country in the Balkans to hold a Pride parade. The march’s success testifies to the strength and capacity of Bosnia’s LGBT activists, says Zorica Mršević, principal research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade, Serbia. In an email interview with WPR, she discusses the recent progress in expanding LGBT rights across the Balkans, and the obstacles going forward. World Politics Review: What is the current state of LGBT rights in Bosnia […]

Relatives and villagers gather around the coffin of Balkisun Mandal Khatwe, a Nepalese migrant worker who died while working on a Qatari construction project, Belhi, Nepal, Nov. 23, 2016 (AP photo by Niranjan Shrestha).

DOHA, Qatar—More than a year later, the workers living in Building 14 of Labour City, a migrant workers’ camp in Doha, remember the gasps and screams that woke them one night in May 2018. As lights flicked on, they heard shouting in the halls. Bhupendra Magar, a 35-year-old plumber from Nepal, was struggling to breathe. Magar’s roommates tried to revive him and called for help. Soon, an ambulance arrived, and medics rushed him across the city to Qatar’s largest hospital, but he didn’t survive the night. Magar had been in Doha for 16 months working on the Al Wakrah stadium, […]

People watch smoke billowing from targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces, in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria, Oct. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Elliot Waldman and Laura Weiss talk about U.S. sanctions targeting Chinese government entities and businesses involved in human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. They also discuss what is driving protests in Ecuador, and why U.S. President Donald Trump’s greenlighting of a Turkish incursion into Syria could end up being a catastrophic error. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The […]

Police form a line outside a church during a demonstration urging the government to free political prisoners, in Masaya, Nicaragua, Aug. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Alfredo Zuniga).

In late September, El Nuevo Diario, Nicaragua’s second-largest newspaper by circulation, announced that it would shut down after nearly 40 years in print due to “economic, technical and logistical difficulties.” “We didn’t know anything. It took us by surprise,” Eliud Garmendia, a journalist with El Nuevo Diario, told the Nicaraguan online news outlet Confidencial. The paper’s closure, while sudden, was not entirely unexpected. For months, the Nicaraguan government has refused to release vital supplies like paper and ink from the state customs agency, forcing El Nuevo Diario to stop printing on weekends and reduce its page-count, according to Lori Hanson, […]

The evening gala at Tiananmen Square for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, Oct. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

When the Chinese Communist Party recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of its rule, it predictably pulled out all the stops. These included stepped up censorship of already tightly controlled domestic media for weeks before the event, extraordinary security measures in Beijing designed to prevent even the slightest disturbance, and the largest military parade in the country’s history. Responses to China’s celebrations have been equally predictable, too, and although they fall into two broad and opposing camps, there is no real contradiction between them. On one hand, some observers focus on China’s achievements since the early 1980s, starting with the rapid […]

Parade participants wave flowers as they march next to a float commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, Oct. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about the recent protests in Egypt and what the government crackdown against them says about President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s hold on power. They also discuss the background of Peru’s constitutional crisis and the contradictions on display during the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Republic of China. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers […]

Maka indigenous leader-in-training Tsiweyenki, or Gloria Elizeche in Spanish, handles a copy of the Bible translated into her native language, in Mariano Roque Alonso, Paraguay, April 17, 2019 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

Seven thousand indigenous languages are spoken around the world today, and four in 10 of them are in danger of going extinct, a recent United Nations study warned. After its release in August, U.N. experts called for a series of steps, including new laws and international commitments, to reverse what they described as the “historic destruction” of indigenous languages. Researchers like the linguist Frank Seifart of Berlin’s Leibniz Center for General Linguistics, whose work includes a study of Carabayo, a language of indigenous people in the Colombian Amazon, have found that older speakers of a range of indigenous languages are […]

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